By Christine Elaine Evans
within the first full-length learn of Soviet valuable tv to attract generally on archival assets, interviews, and tv recordings, Evans demanding situations the concept that Soviet mass tradition within the Brezhnev period was once uninteresting and formulaic. Tracing the emergence of play, clash, and festival on Soviet information courses, serial movies, and diversity and video game indicates, Evans exhibits that Soviet critical Television’s preferred indicates have been experimental and inventive, laying the foundation for Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms and the post-Soviet media system.
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Additional info for Between Truth and Time: A History of Soviet Central Television
I focus on reception largely from the perspective of Central Television’s producers, using sources of information about audiences to which they had access—viewer letters and sociological surveys. 57 They had their audiences always in mind, from distant viewers whose reactions they imagined for themselves or measured imperfectly with letters and surveys, to the more proximate and influential audiences inside Central Television, in the press, and in the Central Committee. I focus on the political center, because game shows, news, serial films, and musical variety programs, among many other entertaining and serious genres, were very much matters of high politics in the Soviet Union.
I would like to suggest, however, that the term “stagnation” should be reinterpreted, rather than jettisoned entirely. 21 First, it captures the very real sense of malaise, irony, and political disengagement that is a widely remembered feature of the Brezhnev era. As Jonathan Flatley and Mark Steinberg have shown, however, melancholic feelings like these do not preclude (indeed, may facilitate) openness to new connections and ways of being in the world. By focusing attention on this affective dimension, “stagnation” allows us to explore the entangled ideological, social, economic, and political problems that gave rise to the Soviet state’s fears about popular disaffection, and its search for television programs that could address these problems.
When? (1977–present), that brought into being a world governed by other rules entirely. These experimental shows offer a broader context for understanding Gorbachev’s fateful decision to experiment with the fundamentals of Soviet political life: he and his generation were raised in an environment where altering the rules of the game was openly encouraged on Central Television’s most popular programming. The book concludes with an epilogue describing the crucial influence of Central Television’s experimental shows of the 1970s—especially game shows, but also musical contests and foreign news programs—on the most famous and politically influential shows of the late 1980s: innovative news programs like View [Vzgliad] and Twelfth Floor [Dvenadtsatyi etazh] that have been credited with both bringing down the Soviet state and launching a new generation of media elites, many of whom still dominate Russian media in the Putin era.
Between Truth and Time: A History of Soviet Central Television by Christine Elaine Evans