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Flowers Through Concrete

Explorations in Soviet Hippieland

Juliane Fürst

Publication Date - September 2022

ISBN: 9780192866066

496 pages
9.2 x 6.0 inches

Retail Price to Students: $30.00


Flowers through Concrete: Explorations in Soviet Hippieland does what the title promises. It takes readers on a journey into a world few knew existed: the lives and thoughts of Soviet hippies, who in the face of disapproval and repression created a version of Western counterculture, skilfully adapting, manipulating, and shaping it to their late socialist environment. As a quasi-guide into the underground hippieland, readers are situated in the world of hippies firmly in late Soviet reality and are offered an unusual history of the last Soviet decades as well as a case study in the power of transnational youth cultures. Flowers through Concrete recounts not only a compelling story of survival against the odds-hippies were harassed by police, shorn of their hair by civilian guards, and confined in psychiatric hospitals by doctors who believed non-conformism was a symptom of schizophrenia. It also advances a surprising argument: despite obvious antagonism the land of Soviet hippies and the world of late socialism were not incompatible. Indeed, Soviet hippies and late socialist reality meshed so well that the hostile, yet stable, relationship that emerged was in many ways symbiotic. Ultimately, it was not the KGB but the arrival of capitalism in the 1990s that ended the Soviet hippie sistema.


  • Contributes important and previously undocumented knowledge of the Soviet Union in the 1970s
  • Includes hundreds of interviews with contemporary sources
  • Examines the many features of post-socialist counterculture life to argue that they have their origin in late socialism
  • Offers a rare insight into the inner workings of the Soviet underground

About the Author(s)

Juliane Fürst, Head of Department of Communism and Society, Leibniz Centre of Contemporary History (ZZF), Potsdam

Juliane Fürst co-heads the Department of Communism and Society at the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF) in Potsdam. She is the author of Stalin's Last Generation: Soviet Post-War Youth and the Emergence of Mature Socialism (2010) and co-editor of the Cambridge History of Communism (2017) and Dropping out of Socialism: Alternative Cultures and Lifestyles in the Soviet Bloc (2016).

Table of Contents

    Part I: Short course in the History of the Soviet Hippie Movement and its Sistema
    1. Origins
    2. Consolidation
    3. Maturity
    4. Ritualization
    Part II: How Soviet Hippies and Late Socialism Made Each Other
    5. Ideology
    6. Kaif
    7. Materiality
    8. Madness
    9. Gerla

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