How to Have a Rest in the Arctic: Leisure Activities of the Soviet Polar Explorers in the 1930s

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Mid 1930s characterized by a change in cultural imperatives: instead of the Spartan and anti-bourgeois ideals of the NEP and industrialization period the authorities proposed a lifestyle full of abundance. The words of I. Stalin: "Living has become better, comrades; living has become happier" was perhaps the most popular slogan. The 1930s were also characterized by the Arctic exploration activity peak, which was to become an objective symbol of the Soviet social experiment success. But was there a place for leisure in it? The aim of the research is to answer this question by investigating the issue of leisure practices of Soviet polar explorers. The author came to conclusion that leisure of the polar explorers was a rest in the style of socialist realism – idealized and unrealistic, practically leaving no hint of deviance or contradiction with the established cultural imperative. They listened to music from Soviet musical comedies, read the right books, played chess, not cards, studied foreign languages and were actively involved in political education. The only weaknesses available – smoking and alcohol – were the means to calmly think over the situation or celebrate a public holiday, once again realizing the importance of their work for the benefit of the socialist homeland and being inspired to new exploits.
Translated title of the contributionКак отдыхать в Арктике: досуг советских полярников 1930-х гг.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012013
Number of pages7
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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