Popular Culture, Identity, and Soviet Youth in Dniepropetrovsk, 1959–84

Sergei I. Zhuk


This paper explores the connections between cultural consumption, ideology, and identity formation in one particular city of the Soviet Ukraine during the Brezhnev era before perestroika. This industrial city, Dniepropetrovsk, was closed to foreigner visits by the KGB in 1959 because it became the location for one of the biggest missile factories in the Soviet Union. Given its closed, sheltered existence, Dniepropetrovsk became a unique Soviet social and cultural laboratory in which various patterns of late socialism collided with the new Western cultural infl uences. Using archival documents, periodicals, personal diaries and interviews as historical sources, this paper focuses on how various aspects of cultural consumption (reading books, listening and dancing to Western music) among the youth of the Soviet “closed city” contributed to various forms of cultural identifi cation, which eventually became elements of post-Soviet Ukrainian national identity.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/cbp.2008.143


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