Soviet-British Intellectual and Cultural Interactions During the “Cultural Détente”: the End of 1950s — Beginning of 1960s
Soviet-British Intellectual and Cultural Interactions During the “Cultural Détente”: the End of 1950s — Beginning of 1960s
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For the first time on the basis of unknown documents from private archives, among them — unique illustrations, author's oral interviews and documents from the fund of the Union of the Soviet Societies of Friendship (SSOD) the author attempts to reconstruct the atmosphere of Soviet-British cultural rapprochement and mutual interest during the “thaw” period in the USSR. One analyzes the phenomenon of public diplomacy in case of private and collective initiatives from the British side as well as activities of various “societies of friendship”. A special thrust is made on analysis of oral evidences of the interviewed participants of the 2 weeks bus trip to the European part of the USSR in 1960 by the members of the Pushkin Club. The author comes ot a conclusion that opening of the “iron curtain” by Nikita Khrustchev resulted in appearance of a whole generation of cultural “tourists” — the intermediaries of Russian culture — those who later accumulated the interest towards USSR and were able to judge about Soviet Russia on the basis of their personal experience. Despite of all difficulties of such contacts in the era of the Cold War and the obvious by-products of the Soviet System of communication with foreigners, the image of USSR and Soviet People gained much more than lost from the rise of personal and collective contacts during the Khrustchev period.
About authors
Mikhail Lipkin
Director of the Institute of World History; Head of the Centre for «World History» Editing, Professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs (MGIMO), Professor at the State Academic University for Humanities (GAUGN)