The Role of the Arts in Relations Between Soviet Russia and the Republic of Turkey 1922-1944


  • Hasan Karacan Cyprus Science University


Soviet Russia, Republic of Turkey, good relations, performing arts, soft power, Marxist literary theory


In the period of their modernization, the USSR (Soviet Russia) and the newly formed Republic of Turkey used cultural relations to promote good relations between their countries, which in our twenty-first century translates to the use of “soft power.” In the period of 1922 to 1944, cultural exchange translated to mutual help with shaping new cultures. An awareness of uses and necessary restrictions regarding propaganda would emerge. According to the correspondence between the wives of Soviet politician and educationalist Lev Borisovich Kamenev and Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Russian-Turkish exchange started with cinema and theater, and progressed with other forms of art, especially music. The introduction of Marxist literary theory from the Russian side would expand to a whole new aesthetic throughout continental Europe, and eventually go full circle back to the Middle East in the modern trend towards mainstream literature. Therefore, this particular correspondence documenting these first cultural exchanges is of great interest. The author of the article has worked from both Russian and Turkish records, translating for the benefit of our English readers.