Tag: youth culture

Power in Peace: The International Youth Festival

The World Youth Festival is, “an event of global youth solidarity for democracy and against war and imperialism” created with the intention, “to bring together young people of both the socialist and capitalist countries to promote peaceful cooperation and mutual rejection of war.” It indeed makes a great deal of sense that in the newfound …

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Vasily Aksyonov and the stilyagi movement

In the 40’s and 50’s and unexpected love of American culture blossomed in the Soviet Union. These young people were called “stilyagi.” The stilyagi were identified by their love of Western fashion and music. In Leningrad (and eventually Moscow) the stilyagi wore narrow trousers and long, unusually colored (by Soviet standards) jackets. They also wore …

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Before the West was Cool: Soviet Hipsters in the 1950s

I first discovered the stilyagi of the fifties when I saw a movie on Kanopy called Hipsters (2008). Set in 1955 Moscow, the film follows a Komsomol member who falls in love with one these stilyagi. A term for nonconformist, Western-oriented youths, the word stilyagi carried a highly negative connotation in Soviet society. Bonus: Listen to a song about hipsters (written by hipsters) while…