The Generation Gap Grows

Around the time of 1968, youths around the world were making the transition from poster children to “problem children.” Gone were the days of strict obedience and falling into their designated social roles and in their place were days of protest, drugs and sexual experimentation. To some extent, Soviet children were no different. With Soviet youth being far enough away from the debts and depredations faced by war, they were able to have the money needed in order to partake in certain leisure activities or become more invested in their own personal style. This new idea of leisure activities being possible can be shown by the image above. This image comes from a magazine called Soviet Life, which was published by the USSR in an attempt to provide the American public with the information they wanted to be known. In this instance, the cover shows Soviet youth engaging in the “Lazy, Dazy, Crazy, Days of Student’s Winter.”

However, despite the governments portrayal of this fun and idealistic childhood, officials were still greatly concerned about the threat posed by Western influences, such as the more modern rock-n-roll music. A primary example of this Western threat can be seen in the band “Time Machine,” which was founded in 1968 by Andrei Makarevich. With their music, this band was able to show the generation gap that could be found during this time. As one of their songs, Песня про Миллионера, or “Song About a Millionare,” the band sings lines such as,

“I heard that millionaires, for all the West as an example…”

or

“Littered with money I had her…”

This reinforces the elder’s ideas that youth were being subjected to this social illness, viewing wealth and fame as being their ultimate goals. As we can see with the image below, elder’s viewed the youth as being entirely too fixated on trends and money; something, which they were never able to preoccupy themselves with.

youngold

This image was paired with the caption, “you know how it was when we were young. We walked around starving, without clothes…so at least my daughter should dress properly!” Thus, while cultures everywhere were becoming more modern, the vast difference between this new culture and the one in which the previous generation grew up in, caused this large gap between the mentalities of young and old; with Soviet youth as well as those all around the world.

Works Cited

James Adams, “15 Incredible Soviet Era Magazine Covers,” Cartridge Save, (Cartridge Save, 2009), http://www.cartridgesave.co.uk/news/15-incredible-soviet-era-magazine-covers/

James von Geldren, “Generation Gap,” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, (Soviet History MSU, 1968), http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1968-2/generation-gap/

Time Machine, “Songs About a Millionaire,” (Time Machine, 1976), https://mashina.ru/music/3/nieizdannoie_ch_1

V. Goriaev, “Memories of Old,” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, (Soviet History MSU, 1964), http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1968-2/generation-gap/generation-gap-images/#bwg169/893

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7 thoughts on “The Generation Gap Grows

  1. I think it’s so cool that while the rest of Russia is going through this communist revolution, the youth continue to have this interest in being edgy and rebellious. It has seemed to go from Stalin’s youth to a youth that is disinterested in Soviet culture at all. Great post and examples on specific parts of the youth culture that the older generations found particularly disturbing. I really liked the lyrics that you used to showcase their western interests.

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  2. When I think of a country concerned about wealth and materialism, Russia is certainly not at the top of my list, and this post reinforced that notion. The older generation grew up with literally nothing, so I’m sure they were thankful for what they had, and attempted to raise their children to be that way. When the younger generation began ‘breaking free,’ if you will, the older folks were kinda lost in deciding if it were a good or bad transition. I think the caption on that last photo really sums everything up!

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  3. Great point on the youth of the Soviet Union, by 1968, being far enough removed from the hardships of full blown war to being to partake in leisure activities and able to become more invested in their own personal style. The vast differences of how post war generations and generations raised during war obviously would result in a pretty serious generational gap. Great post!

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  4. My dad does a lot of research on generation theory and he likes to talk about it, and one thing that is very clear is that generation gaps exist everywhere and are largely the same throughout time. Your examples really show that both the USSR and the USA, despite being ideological opposites, were both filled with people and people have the same problems. Great job!

    Like

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