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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Focusing on the transnational flow and exchange of ideas, rather than on divisions and borders, this chapter emphasizes the ways in which early debates about ‘Sovietness’ related to multiple imaginings, understandings, and experiences of the ‘West’. This perspective builds on work that has reconsidered the history of the Soviet Union within the larger framework of European and North American modernity. ‘Being Soviet’ in the formative years of Bolshevism included ideas, technologies, and cultures that were ‘Western’. Some were openly and positively identified as such; others were covert or unacknowledged. The relationship was deeply ambivalent. But the resultant heterodoxy was notably different from Cold War concepts of the Soviet Union as rigid and impermeable.

Keywords: New Economic Policy (NEP), the ‘Great Break’, transnationalism, Lenin, Trotsky, kul’turnost’, youth, urban culture, leisure, tourism

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