Soviet Soft Power and the Polish Thaw, 1953-1957
Though little is known about such efforts, Soviet cultural and propaganda institutions attempted to reach directly the hearts and minds of East European societies in Moscow’s new sphere of influence created after World War II. In the process, the Soviets squandered considerable human potential on their side, which could have promoted more effective soft power initiatives. Stalin’s death in 1953 offered new possibilities for reciprocal cultural relations and more flexible Soviet approach. Patryk Babiracki, Assistant Professor of History, University of Texas-Arlington, and Title VIII-Supported Research Scholar, Kennan Institute, will explain that other aspects of “the Thaw” in the USSR and Poland further complicated the work of Soviet international outreach institutions, revealing the limitations of Soviet soft power and of the Kremlin’s capacity to maintain empire.
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The Kennan Institute speaker series is made possible through the generous support of the Title VIII Program of the U.S. Department of State.