Leisure Patterns of the Soviet Man in the Mid-1950s – Early 1960s: The Evolution...

Leisure Patterns of the Soviet Man in the Mid-1950s – Early 1960s: The Evolution of Personal and State Discourses

Irina V. Sinova
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The article attempts to consider local issues related to the role and significance of a park of culture and leisure as a place of recreation during the Khrushchev Thaw in the context of the
formation of urban socio-cultural space. Documents from the collection of S. Kirov Central Park of Culture and Leisure in Leningrad stored in the Central State Archive of Literature and Art (TsGALI) reveal the main forms of organized leisure of Leningrad citizens in the second half of the 1950s and in early 1960s. Resolutions, decisions and orders of the Leningrad Oblast Party Committee, the Leningrad City Executive Committee, and the Culture Committee, as well as plans and reports of the institution, scenarios of celebrations, and transcripts of conferences of Park visitors reflect various aspects of its activities and contain representative material, which, among other things, includes informal sincere reactions from the population, opinions on events, recommendations, wishes, and sometimes criticism of Kirov Park. The article shows that the organization of leisure was characterized by a dichotomy typical of the Soviet society in general and of the period under consideration in particular. This was reflected, on the one hand, in the formalized attitude to this area and the assessment of its effectiveness by quantitative rather than qualitative indicators. On the other hand, the attention and sometimes interference of the party and the state in the ways Soviet people spent their free time indicate public priorities and ideological dominants. Concrete examples and facts presented in the article confirm that organized leisure during this period was characterized not only by ideologization and politicization of content but also by the desire for mass involvement, staginess, and diversity in form, which to a certain extent also
contributed to the formation of leisure patterns of the Soviet people.
Irina V. Sinova
Doctor of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor
Saint Petersburg State University of Economics
Saint Petersburg, Russia
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everyday life, leisure, cultural work, S. Kirov Central Park of Culture and Leisure
For citation:
Sinova, I. “Leisure Patterns of the Soviet Man in the Mid-1950s – Early 1960s: The Evolution of Personal and State Discourses.” Historia Provinciae – The Journal of Regional History, vol. 4, no. 4 (2020): 1214–55, http://

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