Performing Russia: Folk Revival and Russian Identity (Basees by Laura Olson

By Laura Olson

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Extra resources for Performing Russia: Folk Revival and Russian Identity (Basees Routledgecurzon Series on Russian and East European Studies, 7)

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92 Writing in 1965, Rubtsov implied what Nadezhda Zhulanova (a member of the folklore revival movement) would say outright in 1999: ‘the origins of the kind of stylization of the folk song which we see in…contemporary folk choruses and ensembles of song and dance, can be found in the ‘pseudo- The Invention and Re-invention of Folk Music 31 folk’ trends in pre-Revolutionary concert estrada, the typical model of which was…the chorus of D. ’94 Kuznetsov cited Tchaikovsky as an authority on authenticity in the folk song, while Rubtsov traced the lack of authenticity (pseudo-folk nature) of the Soviet estrada back to the Agrenev-Slavianskii chorus.

32 It also meant that folklore was most valuable as a source for the creation of compositions in the sphere of high culture. This definition had major repercussions in the ways in which folk art was produced and constructed from the 1930s to the 1980s and beyond; I explore this aspect in the following section, ‘High Culture’. Finally, the linking of folklore with realism meant that it was supposed to be ‘realistic’ in the sense dictated by the definition of socialist realism. 33 But as folklorists well knew, preRevolutionary folkloric texts were often cryptic and complex, lamented difficult personal or societal situations, and were based upon a world-view that placed great importance upon supernatural processes and beings.

These scholars adapted alphabets, wrote dictionaries, established canons of literature, music, folk culture, and art; in short, they gave each ethnicity a coherent, distinct identity. ’ According to this theory the Russians had previously been the oppressor under the Russian Empire and did not deserve such rights or opportunities. ’ In short, ‘ethnicity-based affirmative action in the national territories was an exact replica of class-based affirmative action in Russia. ’6 Of course, this policy enormously affected the ways that Russian folklore was viewed, studied, and performed.

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