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Stagnation period: 1970s and 1980s


Local Party leaders replaced by more Russian-oriented staff ... Alternative minimalism (Japanese patterns) Music ... Disco music (the Zodiac band, Latvia) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Stagnation period: 1970s and 1980s

Stagnation period 1970s and 1980s
  • We pretend that our train keeps driving towards

  • Local Party leaders replaced by more
    Russian-oriented staff
  • Gerontophilia increasing
  • Some more trade with foreign countries
  • More Russian leaders in the LaCP
  • Consumer lifestyle merged to the attitude towards
    the CP ( favours and goods delivered by the
  • Young men threatened by the Army service in
    Afghanistan war former abolishing for male
    students cancelled

Russification enforced
  • Russian language preferred
  • Articles about its superior status
  • Local people were called up to use Russian also
    among themselves
  • Official Party meetings often held in Russian
  • The hardest situation in Latvia
  • Estonians as the worst speakers of Russian (29.0
    in 1970 and 24.2 in 1979)

Demographic situation
  • 1959 75 Estonians, 79 Lithuanians and 62
    Latvians live in their countries
  • 1970 68 Estonians, 80 Lithuanians, 57
  • 1979 65 Estonians, 80 Lithuanians, 54
  • Higher education of the immigrants
  • Communities remained separated
  • In 1973, e.g. 60,000 abortions were committed in
    Latvia against 34,000 childbirths

  • Estonia as the most urbanised country
  • In 1980, 79 of town population
  • 62 of Lithuanians (average ration of the USSR
    was 62)
  • Riga 835,000
  • Vilnius 480,000 Kaunas 370,000
  • Tallinn 430,000 Tartu 102,000

  • Colour TV since 1972
  • 74 of TV programmes broadcasted in Russian
  • 1970 first stereo radio set made in Estonia
  • Since 1967, advertisement TV in Estonia
  • Urmas Ott, Estonia, becomes all-Soviet TV star by
    the first talk show on screen

  • Purchasing by after-payment
  • More cash, less bank cheques used
  • Blue jeans accepted as school uniform in Estonia
  • First comics of Mickey Mouse and first handbook
    of marriage (and sexuality) in the USSR published
    in Estonia, 1973 (both translated from Finnish)
  • Pepsi-Cola, later Fanta introduced
  • Since 1980, bubble gum made in Estonia (first
    time in the Soviet Union)

More things, less thoughts
  • Personal apartment, car, summer cottage
  • Polyester furniture, e.g. section cupboards
  • Books, esp. encyclopaedias, bought but not always
  • Cynical consumerism
  • I can join the Party, if I get a flat

Deficit of goods
  • The Mark of Quality established in 1970s to
    improve the poor quality of all production
  • People have money but nothing is on sale
  • Poor supplement with foodstuff turns even worse
  • No meat on sale
  • People cueing for food in work time
  • Deficit causing hazard speculation
  • Western tourists bombed to get something
  • Glass bead syndrome Western plastic cases,
    ladies tights, bubble gum etc regarded as values

Protesters and dissidents
  • Romas Kalanta, a Lithuanian student, commits
    suicide in public in 1972
  • Underground magazine Chronicle of Lithuanian
    Catholic Church since 1972
  • The Letter of 17 Communists, anonymously
    delivered in the West in 1971

Intelligentsia repressed some cases
  • Maija Silmale, Latvian translator, arrested,
    later eliminated to psychiatry clinic in
    1971(died in 1973)
  • Juozas Jurashas, Lithuanian stage producer, fired
    in 1972 for a letter to the Party leaders
  • Mindaugas Tomonis, Lithuanian supervisor of
    architecture, probably murdered in 1975
  • Sven Kreek, Estonian young poet, probably
    murdered by the KGB in 1975
  • Jüri Kukk, Estonian docent of chemistry, dies in
    prison camp 1982
  • Johannes Hint, Estonian head of an enterprise,
    dies in prison camp

The case of anis Skudra
  • Skudra and Swedish-Latvian Niedre arrested in
  • Accused in photographing military secret objects
  • Skudra sentenced to prison for 12 years
  • Niedre for 10 but soon abolished
  • Secret photos and texts described how the
    Soviet Army had destructed Latvian village
    environment (churches, housing)

Intelligentsia emigrated
  • Juozas Juraas, Lithuanian stage producer, 1974
  • Arvo Pärt, Estonian composer, 1979
  • Neeme Järvi, Estonian conductor, 1980

  • Gorgeous public buildings for kolkhozes
  • Private houses for kolkhoz members
  • Folk style sauna summer cottages
  • Restoration of old manor houses and other values
    financed by the kolkhozes
  • Building and construction units, working for
    kolkhozes, build fine architecture for their own
  • Many loans form the architecture abroad
  • In 1980s, post-modern style randomly introduced
  • Quality of buildings decreases bad work bad

  • Compulsory post-secondary education established
    in the USSR in 1970s but never realised
  • Lessons of foreign language reduced to one 40-min
    lesson per week, the amount of the lessons of
    Russian increased
  • Compulsory study of Russian started on
    kindergarten level
  • Personal computer for schools invented in Estonia

  • Minimalism as haiku popular among the young poets
  • Jaan Kross, Estonia, starts with historical
    novels revival of historical memory
  • Viivi Luik, Estonia, publishes almost uncensored
    novel The seventh Spring of Peace, 1985, giving
    a harsh picture of kolkhoz life in the beginning
    of the 1950s from the point of view of a 5-yeared

  • Bright colours, flowing surfaces, close to the
    aesthetics of Western pop art
  • New materials (acrylic colours, plastic for
  • Well-paid projects of decoration of the public
  • Alternative minimalism (Japanese patterns)

  • Veljo Tormis introduces the voices of the Uralic
    and Finno-Ugric people in ethnographic choir
  • Raimonds Pauls is the most important composer of
    the Soviet pop music
  • First works for synthesiser á la Jarre (Sven
    Grünberg, Estonia etc)

  • Socially conscious dramas by Kazys Saja
  • Baltic opera singers (Virgilius Noreika, Mati
    Palm) aloowed to perform abroad
  • J. Gruas, Barbora Radzvilaite performed in
    Kaunas Drama Theatre, 1972, continued until 1980,
    long after the produced was repressed
  • Jaan Tooming Studio in Tartu alternative company
    for the youth in the seventies

  • Latvian melodramas popular in the USSR
  • Sci-fi films made in Estonia in Baltic
  • More Latvian and Lithuanian actors performing in
    Estonian cinema
  • Estonian animations (Priit Pärn, Rein Raamat) win
    many international prizes
  • Wonderful documentaries about Estonian animals
    made by Rein Maran
  • TV theatre and films competitive to real movies

  • Kaunas algiris basketball team is the best in
    the Soviet Union
  • Revival of the Riga ice hockey team
  • Aavo Pikkuus from Estonia wins many international
    bike races
  • On international competitions, the Baltic people
    are always supporting the wrong (Western) team
  • The Rubic Cube is enormously popular since early

Olympic Games in 1980
  • The Games held in Moscow and Tallinn, the fire
    lit in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Tallinn
  • The USA does not participate
  • Most of the medals won by the USSR
  • The Soviet propaganda used the Games as a favour
    offered by the Soviet power
  • Mascot souvenir, a seal called Vigri, beside
    the Russian bear Mischa
  • Local jokes on the games

Influence of the Olympic Games
  • Many houses restored in Tallinn
  • Many art values hurt by restoration
  • First escalator staircase built in Tallinn
  • Western cars permitted to be purchased to enrich
    the street picture
  • Foodstuff from Finland on sale for one week
  • Bananas on sale!!!

Ecology and pollution
  • Polygons of the Soviet Army polluting nature
  • Estonian oil shale resources exhausted
  • Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania is the
    largest in the world
  • Muuga harbour in Estonia is planned to be built
    in 1982-1990 as the deepest and the largest in
    the Baltic region
  • Vast immigration for the building staff from
  • First national park in the Soviet Union opened in
    Lahemaa, the coast area North Estonia in 1973

Air pollution
  • Oil factory in Maeikiai, Lithuania
  • Radioactive ore factory in Sillamäe, Estonia,
  • Kunda cement factory, Estonia,
  • Maardu chemistry combined factory, Estonia,
  • All bigger cities and other industrial regions
  • Polluted air causes allergy, different diseases
    (respiratory, also loss of hair and teeth) and
    decrease of intelligence, e.g., of the school

Youth culture
  • Disco-jean generation
  • Punk music and punk outlook as alternative to the
    mainstream persecuted by the militia
  • Interest towards the Eastern religions (Hinduism,
    Krishnaism, Buddhism)
  • Stagnation of the Komsomol
  • Pupils Summer Work Army founded

Pop music
  • Children in pop music Entel-tentel, Estonia,
    successful and repeated by Latvian TV
  • Raimonds Pauls is the absolute champion of the
    Soviet pop music, writing for Alla Pugachova and
    other Russian stars
  • Great pop stars Anne Veski, Laima Vaikule etc
    adored by all Soviet people
  • Disco music (the Zodiac band, Latvia)
  • Bands and soloists are required to sing also in
    Russian language
  • The Ruja band, Estonia, makes noble
    intellectual rock music and initiates patriotism
    on their concerts

Uprising of the youth in Tallinn, September 1980
  • Protest against cancelling a concert of a punk
    band Propeller on 22 September, 1980
  • Schoolchildren upset and immediately set up a
    spontaneous demonstration
  • The militia arrested ca 200 children and they
    were dismissed from school
  • In October, the demonstrations continued en
    masse, as well as the arrestments
  • Children were severely beaten and threatened with
    harsh violence

The Letter of the Forty, Estonia, 1980
  • On 28 September, 1980, 40 outstanding members of
    Estonian intelligentsia sent a public letter to
    Pravda, the main newspaper of the USSR
  • Protesting against the violence against the
    schoolchildren on 22 September
  • Demands more Estonian language, Russians must be
    aware of the local national culture more access
    to books in Estonian less Russification in any
    field but mostly in education more foodstuff
  • Delivered in manuscripts only
  • Repressions against the authors quickly followed
  • One of the undersigned later apologised publicly,
    enforced by the KGB