Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Ksenia Filimonova (ZIL Culture Centre; Russian State University of Humanities)

Modernization of Soviet "Houses of Culture" in Moscow: Practices and Challenges

Houses of culture were established in young Soviet Russia during 20-30's of XX century for workers education and propaganda of new ideology (first as workers clubs). These "houses and palaces of Culture" were multifunctional platforms, which provided all kinds of education: from illiteracy eradication to political lectures and debates, amateur performances. The main idea was to create "proper individual, builder of Communist State". During 90's, after the Soviet Union ruined, these organizations lost their main – ideological function. Still calling themselves "guardians of spiritual values, morality and ethic codes", during the economic crisis they turned to poor organizations with some activities for children, or venues for wide range of external commercial enterprises. Still pretending to be high-toned, houses of culture lost reputation among the audience and interest of authorities, but not their convinction. Now there are more than 80 houses of culture in Moscow, and about 2 thousands around Russia. Trying to find their own identity, they balance between Russian Orthodox Church values and official political trends. Typically, old Soviet methods and instructions are used. This happens because new ones are still not created. While many museums, theatres and galleries found new forms and escaped of Soviet organizational forms, and, which is more important, Soviet language, houses of culture know no alternative. The model, suggested for modernization was to bring back the idea of multifunctional platforms, filled with new content. Cultural centers (like Barbican in London) or local community centers (for smaller ones) seemed logical examples for future development during so-called "Kapkov's spring" in 2012 – 2014. After 3 years of reforms, it is possible to say that in case of houses of culture, they failed. The aim of these article is to try to find the answer – why, and what is the reason of such "sustainability" of Soviet forms in culture.