Certain changes in the USSR’s domestic and foreign policy, the swift replacement of high-ranking leaders, the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress, and, of course, the Chernobyl disaster have riveted all attention, causing little notice to be paid to the recent changes in Soviet culture that became increasingly distinct in 1986. These changes have an importance that is not confined to themselves. They reflect political moods and currents and, in turn, influence the development of political currents, and even movements. Without study- ing the changes in our cultural life at the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, it is difficult to understand many of the important political events of the last twenty years, including the dissident movement with all its various leanings and shades.
No one denies that in the 1970s the USSR’s rate of economic growth began to slow to the point of stagnation. But in those years the situation was even worse in the realm of culture; ...
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