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Soviet Soft Power in PolandCulture and the Making of Stalin's New Empire, 1943-1957$
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Patryk Babiracki

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469620893

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469620893.001.0001

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Soft Power on the Sidelines

Soft Power on the Sidelines

(p.97) 3 Soft Power on the Sidelines
Soviet Soft Power in Poland

Patryk Babiracki

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how Soviet cultural interventions, increasingly aggressive and insensitive to Polish conditions, alienated even those Polish communists and cultural figures who were Stalin's most loyal allies. Developments in the USSR and Poland's forced transformations of 1948–54 affected Soviet soft power in a couple of ways. First, as Stalin unleashed a new wave of terror in the USSR, the Stalinist administrative machine shoved effective Soviet soft power initiatives to the sidelines—paralyzing independent initiative, empowering opportunism, and promoting low-quality, aggressive propaganda on behalf of the Soviet state. Second, most Polish cultural figures and functionaries found little fulfillment—and often much shame—in their roles as impresarios of Stalinism, with its adulation of the Soviet leader, pseudoscience, and senseless propaganda. They found themselves increasingly unwilling to interpret the culture that the Soviets were forcing them to accept. Coercion took hold over Polish culture; as a result, the hitherto open Soviet-Polish confrontations over meaning and form in all spheres of cultural activity moved to the back stage.

Keywords:   Soviet Union, Poland, cultural policy, cultural intervention, Polish communists, Stalin, Stalinism

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