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Showcasing the Great ExperimentCultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921–1941$
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Michael David-Fox

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794577

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794577.001.0001

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Cultural Diplomacy of a New Type

Cultural Diplomacy of a New Type

(p.28) 1 Cultural Diplomacy of a New Type
Showcasing the Great Experiment

Michael David-Fox

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes how the Soviet approach to foreign visitors crystallized during a particular conjuncture in the early 1920s. As the first significant influx of “bourgeois” foreigners, including the American Relief Association (ARA), arrived to provide aid during the famine of 1920–1922, Soviet missions became focused not only on external contacts and exports but on influencing visitors at home. The chapter explores the origins of Soviet organizations set up to shape the international image of the Soviet experiment. It considers the motivations and activities of the precursors to the All-Union Society for Cultural Ties Abroad (VOKS), Soviet guides and translators, and the secret police (OGPU/NKVD). A new Soviet system emerged to predict visitors' judgments, evaluate and classify foreigners, and identify friends and enemies.

Keywords:   famine of 1920–1922, VOKS, guides, translators, secret police, OGPU, NKVD, foreign visitors, Soviet

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