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After NewspeakLanguage Culture and Politics in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin$
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Michael S. Gorham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452628

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452628.001.0001

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The Soviet Legacy

The Soviet Legacy

From Political to Cultural Correctness

(p.25) 1 The Soviet Legacy
After Newspeak

Michael S. Gorham

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines two seemingly contradictory legacies of Soviet-era language culture: the so-called speech culture movement born in the effort to develop “civilized behavior” among citizens under Joseph Stalin, and the cliché-ridden official language of the Soviet state. The first celebrated the classics of nineteenth-century Russian literature as the primary model for writing and speech, while the second held up the ideology-laden rhetoric of Marxist–Leninist doctrine as the standard language of political practice. Nevertheless, both embrace a top-down model of rhetorical authority that positions everyday citizen speakers and writers as subjects indebted to languages of power whose legitimacy rests with elite state-run institutions—such as the Academy of Sciences or the Politburo.

Keywords:   Soviet-era, language culture, speech culture movement, Joseph Stalin, Soviet state, Russian literature, Marxist–Leninist doctrine, rhetorical authority, Academy of Sciences, Politburo

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