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The Soviet TheaterA Documentary History$
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Laurence Senelick and Sergei Ostrovsky

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194760

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194760.001.0001

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Glasnost’ And Perestroika, 1985–1992

Glasnost’ And Perestroika, 1985–1992

(p.648) Chapter Eleven Glasnost’ And Perestroika, 1985–1992
The Soviet Theater

Laurence Senelick

Sergei Ostrovsky

Yale University Press

This chapter describes events in the history of Soviet theater and arts from 1985 to 1992. Mikhail Gorbachëv's appointment as general secretary in 1985 presented a younger, more hopeful face of Communism. He proclaimed the principles of glasnost', “transparency,” and perestroika, “reconstruction” in a bid to eliminate corruption and inefficiency and rebuild the infrastructure, without fundamentally altering the system. Faced with de facto turbulence in the theater, the authorities followed Gorbachëv's lead and initiated a series of experimental reforms meant to restructure the economic model without surrendering government control. By this time there were more than six hundred professional theaters in the USSR performing in fifty-five languages, not counting the various unauthorized studios, amateur groups, and “apartment” theatricals. In January 1992, the declaration of a Commonwealth of Independent States ended the single, dominant, all-controlling Soviet theatrical culture both at home and abroad.

Keywords:   Soviet theater, Soviet history, glasnost', perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachëv

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