Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pre-1991 Soviet Era High Cultural Literacy Threatened In Post-Soviet Era By Television And Americanization

MOSCOW - "From an early age Soviet school children were spoon-fed high culture, shown around art galleries with icons and old masters and taken to see ballets such as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.

But 15 years after the USSR's collapse a poll has revealed that today's generation of Russians prefers Tom Cruise and Britney Spears to a night at the opera or a trip to the Hermitage Museum.

According to the survey by the Moscow-based Public Opinion Foundation, Russia's image as a nation of sophistication is outdated.

The country that gave the world Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov and the abstract painter Kazimir Malevich [who was born near Kyiv, Ukraine] has, it would seem, lost its delicate tastes and artistic talent.

The poll revealed that Russians overwhelmingly preferred the latest Hollywood blockbuster or the pop song of the moment to anything more demanding.

Only 8 per cent profess to have any interest in ballet and 6 per cent in opera and 37 per cent have never visited an art gallery.

Russia may boast some of the world's greatest collections of art, in Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery and in St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, but only a quarter of the poll's respondents said they had been to visit either and just 20 per cent said they were interested in art.

Only 18 per cent expressed an interest in listening to classical music, a figure dwarfed by those who said they loved pop music (38 per cent).

Theatre fared a little better, with 31 per cent saying they enjoyed watching a play.

The poll's organiser, Lyudmila Presnyakova, said it was a mistake to see the figures as a gloomy indictment of today's society.

Yuri Levada, a rival pollster, blamed the rise of television and the internet for the change. "TV is gradually devouring all of Russians' leisure time.""

Andrew Osborn "Russians shun high culture as a load of old Bolshoi" The Independent via The New Zealand Herald May 17, 2006 NZHerald.co.nz


Conservation of High Culture versus Globalization of Popular and Commercial Culture:

A medieval Slavonic icon is restored by a cultural scientist working at Petersburg's State Russian Museum.

Photo credit: The State Russian Museum Exhibits Conservation Department, [Saint] Petersburg, the Russian Federation. With thanks.

www.artsstudio.com/ restoration/ (English language site.)

The State Russian Museum

http://www.rusmuseum.ru/eng/ (English language site.)


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