Projects per year
Soviet hippies were in many ways a paradoxical phenomenon. They imitated an ideal that was shaped by American realities in a Soviet world. They were anti-Soviet, yet they professed an apolitical life style. This article proposes that rather than looking at the Soviet hippies with ideology in mind it is more fruitful to consider them an emotional community whose ‘emotional style’ differed from the Soviet mainstream and ultimately proved a formidable challenge to the Soviet system. The article investigates several exterior markers of Soviet hippie culture, which formed and reflected the ‘emotional style’ of the Soviet hippies such as their creed of love and peace, their enjoyment of rock music and the significance of hippie fashion. Drawing on interviews with contemporary witnesses from the Soviet hippie scene particular attention is given to the new rhetoric hippies employed to describe emotions particular to their style of life, to the way the practice of these emotions differed from the official Soviet emotional codex and to the nexus that linked the vocabulary and practice of emotions with specific items, sites, rituals and attributes. The article concludes that, while Soviet hippies remained a subculture, their style, including their ‘emotional style’ proved very durable and capable of expansion into the mainstream, ultimately surviving the Soviet system and its emotional norms.