Display of Imperialism or Celebration of Diversity?

The readings for today touched on the role of music, theater, and opera in the larger Soviet Union regions and how their culture reflected their larger identity and place in Soviet society. I find it interesting how the various nationalities mentioned in the readings went to Moscow to demonstrate their culture and identity and how their music flourished and changed because of this. For example, the text states, “Three hundred Kazak actors, dancers, musicians, poets and writers descended upon Moscow for the festival starting on 17 May 1936. Artists from the Kazak State Musical Theatre and the National Orchestra of the Kazak Philharmonic, as well as popular writers and singers, composed the delegation from Kazakstan” (191). In the reading on Armenian music the author argues, “the level of education was improved, orchestras were established and financially supported, and the arrangement of concerts flourished. However, the effect of Soviet cultural policy on folk music led to a dramatic transformation of not only the music, but of virtually everything to do with this music, from the folk musician’s education and the transmission of songs to the context of performance and the way folk musicians were regarded” (153). It seems like the displays of culture and art was a positive action, however one quote caught my eye from one of the readings. Rouland argued that the Dekada “legitimized Soviet imperial aggression” (190). I thought this was an interesting perspective and was wondering how the class felt. 

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