Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War by Kristin Roth-EyMoscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War by Kristin Roth-Ey

Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War

byKristin Roth-Ey

Paperback | November 11, 2014

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When Nikita Khrushchev visited Hollywood in 1959 only to be scandalized by a group of scantily clad actresses, his message was blunt: Soviet culture would soon consign the mass culture of the West, epitomized by Hollywood, to the "dustbin of history." In Moscow Prime Time, a portrait of the Soviet broadcasting and film industries and of everyday Soviet consumers from the end of World War II through the 1970s, Kristin Roth-Ey shows us how and why Khrushchev's ambitious vision ultimately failed to materialize.

The USSR surged full force into the modern media age after World War II, building cultural infrastructures—and audiences—that were among the world's largest. Soviet people were enthusiastic radio listeners, TV watchers, and moviegoers, and the great bulk of what they were consuming was not the dissident culture that made headlines in the West, but orthodox, made-in-the-USSR content. This, then, was Soviet culture's real prime time and a major achievement for a regime that had long touted easy, everyday access to a socialist cultural experience as a birthright. Yet Soviet success also brought complex and unintended consequences.

Emphasizing such factors as the rise of the single-family household and of a more sophisticated consumer culture, the long reach and seductive influence of foreign media, and the workings of professional pride and raw ambition in the media industries, Roth-Ey shows a Soviet media empire transformed from within in the postwar era. The result, she finds, was something dynamic and volatile: a new Soviet culture, with its center of gravity shifted from the lecture hall to the living room, and a new brand of cultural experience, at once personal, immediate, and eclectic—a new Soviet culture increasingly similar, in fact, to that of its self-defined enemy, the mass culture of the West. By the 1970s, the Soviet media empire, stretching far beyond its founders' wildest dreams, was busily undermining the very promise of a unique Soviet culture—and visibly losing the cultural cold war. Moscow Prime Time is the first book to untangle the paradoxes of Soviet success and failure in the postwar media age.

Kristin Roth-Ey is Lecturer in Modern Russian History at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.
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Title:Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold WarFormat:PaperbackDimensions:9.25 × 6.13 × 0.27 inPublished:November 11, 2014Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801479754

ISBN - 13:9780801479755

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Soviet Culture in the Media Age
1. The Soviet Film Industry: Defining Cinematic Success after Stalin
2. The New Soviet Movie Culture
3. What Was Said When the Muses Were Heard: Foreign Radio in Soviet Contexts
4. Finding a Home for Television in the USSR
5. Television and Authority in Soviet Culture
Epilogue

Selected Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Moscow Prime Time is an empirically rich and analytically sharp social and cultural history of Soviet radio, TV, and film and an important work for understanding the USSR after Stalin's death."—Terry Martin, George F. Baker III Professor of Russian Studies and Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, author of The Affirmative Action Empire