Monday, October 08, 2018

Donald J. Raleigh: 'Soviet Baby Boomers' (2012), Part III

Donald J. Raleigh, Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia's Cold War Generation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Strange phenomenon: making "primitive 78-rpm recordings on used X-ray films." (page 140)

Aleksandr Galich, Bulat Okudzhava, Vladmimir Vysotsky, the latter's songs included "And All Is Quiet in the Cemetery." (pages 142-143)

Voice of America, Deutsche Welle (German Wave) broadcasts (pages 146-147).

Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jazz Hour, etcetera (page 148)

BBC better than Voice of America, to Yelena Kolosova (pages 149-150)

Cuba as romantic inspiration: many of the interviewed Soviet Baby Boomers thought that Castro and the Cubans were cool (just like hepcats and beatniks in "the West" did). "'Cuba, my love, island of crimson dawns.'" (page 151)

Split with China over Cultural Revolution and Damansky / Chenpao Island crisis (page 153), late 1960s. Ready for war, if needed. "'[P]eople think the Chinese are strange.'" (page 155)

As in "the West," Soviet Baby Boomers mostly ignored "the Developing World."  "In 1966 Soviet citizens harbored 'unequivocal disinterest in the 'Third World,' whereas 91 percent of those surveyed were interested in America and admired its technological progress and living standards. Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were enormously popular, and many believed Americans were much like Russians." (page 158) 

The assassination of JFK was felt as a tragedy and "calamity." Yelena Kolosova: "'Since the assassination, I've had a fierce hatred of Texas. The first time I flew to Dallas, I couldn't overcome that ominous feeling that the tragedy had taken place there.'"  (page 162)

"The Baby Boomers came of age at the zenith of Soviet socialism, only to see the system crumble some three decades later. Ironically, much of this had to do with the Soviet system's very success at effecting social change, whose byproducts included rapid urbanization and a rise in the number of educated professionals." (page 169)

1968 was a turning point of sorts, after the Prague Spring was crushed; things were worsened by the Afghanistan War (1979-1989).

Interesting gender statistics. "In 1970, 86 percent of working-age women were employed (the figure was 42 percent in the United States): 71 percent of the country's teachers were women, 70 percent of its physicians . . ." (page 190). 

Also as of 1970, the divorce rate in the Soviet Union was second only to that in the USA. "Soviet women initiated divorce more than men . . ." (page 201).

Today's Rune: Fertility. 

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