Kuznetsova L. A.. Discussions on the Form and Content of the Soviet Resort Rest (the 1920s – 1930s) (.pdf)


The article analyzes discussions on the principles of the Soviet leisure and the functions of the leisure industry in the USSR. It places these debates within the context of the Soviet ideological experiments. The article shows the relationship between the image of the Soviet resort and the evolution of the notion of “proper” leisure, on the one hand, and the changing functions of resort leisure within the system of ideological education and evolving social policy, on the other. The article pays particular attention to the reconceptualization of the resorts’ educational function by medical experts as well as state authorities. In the 1920s, the discussion about “proper” Soviet leisure was a part of the debate about the New Soviet Man. This goal shaped the visions of the resorts’ medical and education functions, actively promoted not only by state authorities but also by the medical community. The resort was to be the means of mastering the technique of regimented useful rest, basic hygiene and prophylactics, and rational treatment of one’s body. Time spent at the resorts was to be used solely for treatment in order to restore one’s capacity to work. In the 1930s, state authorities began to actively participate in the debates and to use the resort as the means to win the loyalty of the new middle class. Legitimizing comfortable life without revolutionary hardships, the Soviet authorities strove to win and maintain broad social support. The resort was reinvented as a luxurious place of rest and hedonistic pleasures accessible only for the worthiest citizens; a vacation at the resort became an award for a good work and other achievements. The analysis of the evolving meaning of the Soviet resort and the functions of resort leisure helps to see the mechanisms of the ideological system and the way a particular phenomenon functioned within it.


Key words: Soviet history, ideology, “Big Deal”, social policy, leisure, resort, «New Soviet Man».


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