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Flowers Through ConcreteExplorations in Soviet Hippieland$
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Juliane Fürst

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198788324

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198788324.001.0001

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(p.64) 2 Consolidation
Flowers Through Concrete

Juliane Fürst

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues the chronological history of the Soviet hippie movement. It turns its gaze specifically on Moscow, where Iurii Burakov (alias Solntse) was instrumental in creating a loose association of hippies and their friends, which soon became known as the sistema. It explores the personality of Iura, who left a rich archive of auto-biographical writing, revealing a thoughtful young man steeped in his Soviet socialization, which left him with a strong desire for self-improvement and a collective mission. With greater organization on the part of the hippies, the state also mustered a stronger response. Both developments culminated in the 1 June 1971 demonstration, organized by Iura Burakov as a collective action against the American war in Vietnam, but which de facto was used by the authorities as a sting operation to capture the data of Moscow hippies and their like-minded peers. The demonstration resulted in the arrest of hundreds of hippies, possibly more than a thousand. Iura Burakov was left with the tarnished reputation of a potential traitor, entangled in the web of KGB tactics, which were first directed at destroying, later at co-opting the sistema.

Keywords:   hippies, Moscow, sistema, political protest, Iurii Burakov

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