Special Issue

Individual Responsibility for the Common Cause? Everyday Preservationism in the Interwar Russian Émigré Newsmagazine Illyustrirovannaya Rossiya

Author
  • Phaedra Claeys

Abstract

This article considers the approach of the popular Russian émigré newsmagazine Illyustrirovannaya Rossiya [Illustrated Russia] to so-called preservationism — simply put, the tendency to preserve prerevolutionary Russian culture in exile. More specifically, this article studies preservationism in the everyday life of the Russian interwar diaspora. Due to its long run, broad scope, and large readership, the magazine is a unique and invaluable document, offering significant insight into the social and cultural life of Russian émigrés. In order to gain an understanding of preservationism in Illyustrirovannaya Rossiya, a close reading of the periodical will be conducted, centred around questions such as whether the magazine covered any aspects of prerevolutionary Russian culture at all, and, if so, which and how? Focusing on three key elements of Illyustrirovannaya Rossiya’s editorial content, this article demonstrates that preservationism in popular and everyday culture as presented in this periodical differs markedly from its high-culture counterpart (such as highbrow literature and visual arts, for example). What stands out in Illyustrirovannaya Rossiya’s approach is that prerevolutionary Russian life and culture are rarely covered and, more importantly, never truly glorified. Instead, coverage of the Russian émigré community itself makes up a central part of the magazine’s content. When it comes to preserving Russian culture and identity, Illyustrirovannaya Rossiya pleads for finding a middle ground between preserving the home culture and adapting to the host culture. In doing so, the magazine frequently stresses readers’ individual responsibility to seek connection with their Russian identity instead of relying on leading émigré figures and institutions.

Keywords:

How to Cite:

Claeys, P., (2021) “Individual Responsibility for the Common Cause? Everyday Preservationism in the Interwar Russian Émigré Newsmagazine Illyustrirovannaya Rossiya”, Journal of European Periodical Studies 6(2), p.18–35. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/jeps.v6i2.20644

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Published on
18 Dec 2021
Peer Reviewed