1st Edition

Moscow Graffiti Language and Subculture

By John Bushnell Copyright 1990
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    First Published in 1990, Moscow Graffiti is a unique and unprecedented look at the graffiti that began to appear for the first time on the walls of Moscow and other Soviet cities in the late 1970s. John Bushnell first traces the social and cultural changes that fostered the emergence of a multifaceted Soviet subculture and the appearance of graffiti. He explains the common graffiti argot of Russian slang, English, and pictographs, and then examines the disparate groups that produced it-adolescent gangs, heavy metal fans, pacifists, punks, hippies, and even the fans of a popular Soviet novel (Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita).  Through graffiti these conflicting and alienated groups produce an explicit cultural alternative to the official culture they disdain.

    Fully illustrated with over eighty drawings and photos, Moscow Graffiti is a unique look at an underexplored area of Soviet society. The book will prove fascinating reading to all those interested in Soviet society, history, and popular culture.

    Preface 1. Two Russian Traditions:  Devotional and Children's Graffiti 2. Fan Gangs and their Graffiti Argot 3. Rock and Roll Graffiti 4. Counterculture Graffiti 5. Graffiti and Cultural Critique: An Appreciation of the Master and Margarita 6. Graffiti and the Soviet Urban Subculture A Postscript on Art and Life Bibliography About the Author Index


    John Bushnell  (at the time of the first publication of this book) was Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University and a former translator for Progress Publishers in Moscow.

    Reviews of the original publication:

    “John Bushnell has analyzed a vast field of popular culture that has not been previously discussed by scholars of Soviet culture because it has never been noticed. Not only has Bushnell seen something no one else has seen; He has correctly recognized its importance. This is a pioneering study, one that no scholar of contemporary cultural production in the Soviet Union will be able to disregard”.

    -Vladimir Padunov, Wheaton College