Sample Essays on The Impact of Beatles On the Soviet Youth Culture

The Impact of Beatles On the Soviet Youth Culture

            The culture of a particular community is defined by their way of life, which is influenced by variables such as behavior, artifacts, beliefs and values. The communities do not reject it because people accept it as a norm since it is passed on from generations over time. Language is one of the most common aspects that are indicative of culture because it represents the symbols and words that people use to communicate culture. Language includes body language which communicates differently according to the social background of the individual. There is also another set of language known as slang, which is used to communicate to a particular group of people within the society (Zhuk 665).  The other aspect that relates to culture is different values that govern the way people relate to one another.  Values are the aspects that are defined as right in the society and they help one define the extent to which a behavior is desirable. Apart from values and language, there are other factors that influence culture including music, art, and form of government. Any aspect that has the potential to influence the behavior of people in the society has the capacity to change culture. In the Soviet Union, it is music by the Beatles that influenced the culture of the youth. The custom adopted by the Beatles influenced the language, freedom, and economic status of the youth in the Soviet Union.

The English language adopted by the youth in the Soviet Union in the 1960s was an impact of the Beatles. As the popularity of the music band increased, the youth gained interest in learning the lyrics, which were written in English language. This brought about a sudden need for the youth to learn the language. One of the most important features about culture is the need for one to feel a sense of belonging. For example, the Soviet Union youth who could not communicate in English were left out from social interactions with the other members due to language barrier. During the 1960s, the main language if communication used in the Soviet Union was Russian but the Beatles introduced a new way of communicating that became very popular among the youth (Yurchak 500). For one to identify themselves with the youth, they had to understand the language. The language was associated with freedom against oppression and Western civilization. Language is closely related to culture because it enables a group of people to interact with one another efficiently. Language influences culture as it carries different meanings in reality. It uses figures whose meanings is derived from the culture of a particular social group. For one to understand the culture of a particular society, it is crucial that they understand the language first because it forms the basis for culture. Most of the phrases used are drawn from the cultural aspect. Learning a language entails more than just knowing how to read, write, and speak, but also the culture of the society.  Most of the phrases in a language are related to the culture of the society, thus understanding the origin of different phrases is important in explaining culture. There are different aspects of language that one needs to learn to understand culture. This includes body language, which is mostly influenced by the behavior and beliefs of people within the given society. When speaking, the aspect that brings about different meanings of the spoken words is tonal variations (Richmond 250). Raising and falling of a tone when pronouncing certain words may have different meanings. Human interactions are the main reason that culture spreads, but they cannot exist without a common language. People use language to pass on information about desirable behavior, music, arts and other cultural aspects. The same case applies to culture, which is defined by communicated to the people through a common language. It is thus evident that language has an influence on the cultural direction adopted by a society. In the Soviet Union, the youth looked up to the Beatles as they admired their music and way of life. The only challenge was communication barrier that existed because they could hardly speak English. The youth needed to understand the language used in the lyrics; therefore, they opted to learn English. The language did not only enhance their understanding of the lyrics but also the Western culture. The youth did not only learn about English alphabets but they also gained knowledge of the Western culture. With a new way of communicating, the culture of the Soviet Union youth changed. They now had a tool of communication and this created a sense of freedom.

Freedom from Stalinism and censorship is another way in which the Beatles influenced the culture of youth in the Soviet Union. Stalinism is a term used to describe the state of governance in the Soviet Union that was based on policies dictated by the political leader during the time, Joseph Stalin (Fürst 268). Censorship on the other hand, entails the practice of preventing unsuitable culture from spreading by editing the communication channels. Before the emergence of the Beatles in the 1960s, Stalinism and censorship were the main strategies used by the leaders to preserve and protect national unity. The problem is that the strategies were not aimed at promoting the welfare of all the citizens but it was designed to protect the ideologies of political leaders in the society. This angered the citizens, especially the youth, but had no otherwise but to put up with the political leadership. It was until the arrival of the Beatles in the country that the youth united to fight for freedom. Stalinism supported policies that stimulated the country’s level of production. One of these policies was industrialization because the nation’s economic status was not doing well compared to the other countries in the region. To stimulate the economy, it was necessary for the citizens to work harder. The administration stressed on communism in the country. The ideology required that people worked on communal basis where individuals were not allowed to own properties. Instead, all members of the society owned all the factors of production such as land and capital.  Although the ideology succeeded in stimulating the economy, Stalinism adversely affected the social welfare of the communities. Due to the communal ownership of factors of production, the agricultural production in the country was very high. The administration further proposed a five-year plan to consolidate factors of production in labor. The communities that were opposed to the plan faced hostility from the other societies with the support of the government.  People who were opposed to Stalinism were executed as they were labeled as enemies of development. The justice system in the country at the time was poor and was more focused on punishing individuals alleged to oppose communism. Investigations on such claims were not allowed to take more than ten days and this denied justice to the people. Although the citizens were against the ideologies proposed by Stalinism, they were afraid of raising their concerns. Stalinism succeeded in instilling fear among the citizens but after the 1960s, this fear was over and the youth changed the oppressive culture (Pilkington 319). The Beatles changed the way the Soviet Union youth perceived economic, political, and social aspects of the society. Through their music, the youth developed a new way of exchanging ideas and this led to their freedom. The influence of the Beatles was so intense that it attracted the government’s attention. The rock music sang by the Beatles was credited with spreading Western ideologies that opposed ideologies supported by the government such as communism. To the government, the Western culture was against its development goals as it had the potential to influence the society negatively. By the time the government realized the influence that Beatles had on the youth culture, the rock music was already famous. The youth had already mastered the English language and adopted western civilization (Leonard 280). The threats issues against those who were against the oppressive government ideologies did not deter them. The efforts by the government to stop the influence of the Beatles in the society were futile and it resorted to censorship. This allowed the authorities to scrap all the materials ion films and songs that popularized the western culture. However, it was too late for the government to stop the spread of western ideologies. The youth had already defined ways of communicating with one another. They were all united against a common cause, the oppressive political administration. The unity enabled them to come out strongly and oppose Stalinism and censorship, which threatened to encourage slavery and injustice in the country. It is the influence of the Beatles that made the youth realizes that they had the power to change the political administration in the country.  Gaining freedom from Stalinism and censorship enhanced the economic status of the Soviet Union youth.

The economic status of the Soviet Union youth was greatly enhanced by the Beatles. The youth admired the custom of the music band including their mode of dressing and fashion. This inspired them to be more expressive of themselves, in relation to not only fashion but also the nature of careers that they pursued. The number of youth pursuing art and design subjects increased as well as in the other fields. With a high number of professional youths in the country, some opted to move to other countries for labor while others exported their finished products (McMichael 682).  The high employment rate among the youth led to a population of youth that were financially stable and this greatly influenced their culture. As the music by the Beatles became popular, the number of youth interested in learning English language increased. The youth did not just learn the language but also the culture of the western nations. This gave them confidence to interact with people from other nations. One of the most important factors that lead to success in business is the ability of the company or the employees to interact well with the people. For this to happen, the business must understand the culture of the other party. The Soviet Union youth who were interested in international trade had confidence in the ventures because they understood how they were supposed to relate with the people. The products they sold were also tailor made to suit the interests of the particular cultures. Success of the Soviet Union youth in business relations with the Western countries was also enhanced by the fact that they could communicate effectively with the people. Effective communication is one of the factors that lead to success in businesses, thus it guaranteed success for the youth who were able to strike favorable business deals with the traders from Western nations. The success in business for the Soviet Union youth implied improved economic status for the population (Kelly 259). There emerged a class of wealthy youth and this influenced their culture in different ways. The wealthy class of youth moved away from the traditional family settings as they adopted modern family life in the urban areas. The type of goods that the individuals consumed changed and this influenced the construction of modern shopping centers in the urban areas. The youth were also intolerant of the oppressive political administrators and some started showing great interest in running the political affairs of the country. The new class of wealthy youth in the country also influenced the nature of social amenities in the urban areas. There were better hospitals, schools and the infrastructure was greatly improved. To some extent, the Beatles improved the overall economic status of the nation because the income earned by the wealthy youth was still used to build the nation through taxation.

In conclusion, it is evident that the Beatles played a primary role in shaping the social, political, and economic welfare of the youth.  Before the Beatles introduced their music in the country, youth culture was characterized with fear and ignorance. The youth became enlightened after the 1960s and this is the same time they overcame the fear to confront the authorities. The first aspect that shaped the culture of the youth in the Soviet Union is language. Learning the English language was not just about mastering good spoken and written English, but it also entailed learning about the culture of the people. Understanding the culture of the Western nations helped the youth in trade and other social relations with people from the other nations. One may argue that the Beatles introduced the world to the country because the people were able to relate more with international citizens. The second aspect that shaped the Soviet Union youth culture was freedom from the oppressive political administration in the country. The Beatles proved to the youth that it was possible to beat the odds when they were able to spread their ideologies, even with the strong opposition from the government.  The youth were determined to confront the government in a bid to stop the oppressive administration. Improved economic status of the youth is the other factor that influenced the youth culture. There emerged a class of entrepreneurial youth who influenced economic factors such as improved infrastructure and urbanization. Due to their close interactions with the Western culture, the wealthy class of Soviet Union youth lived a more modern life and introduced civilization in the country.


Works Cited

Fürst, Juliane. Stalin’s last generation: Soviet post-war youth and the emergence of mature             socialism. OUP Oxford, 2010.

Kelly, Catriona. “Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Cold War, by Donald           Raleigh.” The English Historical Review 129.536 (2014): 259-262.

Leonard, Candy. Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World. Skyhorse         Publishing, Inc., 2014. Print

McMichael, Polly. “‘After all, you’re a rock and roll star (at least, that’s what they say)’: Roksi       and the Creation of the Soviet Rock Musician.” The Slavonic and East European       Review (2005): 664-684.

Pilkington, Hilary. “Youth and Popular Culture.” Russia and Western Civilization: Cultural           and Historical Encounters (2003): 319.

Richmond, Yale. Cultural exchange and the cold war: Raising the iron curtain. Penn State            Press, 2010. Print.

Yurchak, Alexei. “Soviet hegemony of form: Everything was forever, until it was no         more.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 45.03 (2003): 480-510.

Zhuk, Sergei I. “Religion, “Westernization,” and Youth in the “Closed City” of Soviet      Ukraine, 1964–84.” The Russian Review 67.4 (2008): 661-679.