The impact of Gorbatchev’s reform Glasnost on arts and media between 1980 and 1990

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In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the Secretary of the CPSU and introduced the concept pr policy of Glasnost. Translated to English, Glasnost means openness. Glasnost was an important component of Gorbachev’s perestroika by which Gorbachev attempted to raise the sagging economic fortunes of the Soviet Union and make the inefficient system of governance more efficient (Gibbs, 1999). 2. Literature Review Understanding the impact of Gorbachev’s glasnost on arts and media in the Soviet Union in its early years till 1990, is a challenge in understanding what it meant during that period and the objective of Gorbachev in introducing it. From 1985 to 1988 many interpretations were given by different sources for glasnost. While openness, public airing, and freedom of speech were the most commonly used interpretations, there were wordier interpretations. An astute interpretation put forward was that glasnost was the means by which Gorbachev intended to enlist the entire huge media of the country towards attacking the entrenched party workers and government bureaucrats that were so keen on profiting from the existing system of governance. … as meant as maximum openness and truthfulness in the activity of the state and public organizations … But at the same time glasnost is not synonymous with universal permissiveness, the undermining of socialist values. it is invoked to strengthen socialism, the socialist code of morals(Gibbs, 1999, p.13). Yet, in his memoirs Gorbachev himself that the glasnost that he had introduced with limited freedom aims, but glasnost broke out of the limits that we had initially tried to frame and became a process that was beyond anybody’s control (Gibbs, 1999, p.14). 2.1. Influence of Glasnost on Visual Art Government censorship of art for several decades in the Soviet Union under the CPSU had led to a situation where genuine visual art had virtually become non-existent in the Soviet Union. The censorship introduce by the Soviet government was so harsh that it made sure that visual art could not become a means for registering agitation for political reforms or as a platform for criticism of the government. Instead under pressure from the government visual art had become a visual tool and visual ally of the government. During the days of Stalin a non-conformist artist could end up in the Gulag or be put to death for non-conformist art was considered to be a part of political dissension. The only option left for non-conforming artists was to leave the country, like Ilya Kabokov and present to the rest of the world the fallacies that existed with regards to the political and social situation in the Soviet Union. Visual art prior to glasnost was in actuality a state sanctioned art that presented and idealistic picture of the state of politics and social situations under the CPSU in the Soviet Union. Thus visual art presented a very biased picture of the actuality in