The association "Italy-USSR" from Postwar to Cold War: unofficial cultural diplomacy and Soviet propaganda (1944-1960)

Author/s Stefano Pisu
Publishing Year 2021 Issue 2020/2-3 Language Italian
Pages 23 P. 21-43 File size 342 KB
DOI 10.3280/MON2020-002002
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The article reconstructs the main stages of the history of the Italian association for cultural relations with the Soviet Union - also known as "Italy-USSR" - from 1944 to 1960. The genesis of "Italy-USSR" relates to the post-war international cultural context. The polarization of the national and global political-ideological struggle led the asso-ciation to a clear political turn: the fight against anti-Sovietism became an uncritical celebration of the Soviet Union. "Italy-USSR" thus scarcely succeeded in being an ef-fective actor of the cultural Cold War, since it was not very capable of attracting people far from the Socialist and Communist parties. The new secretary Orazio Barbieri (1953-1958) wanted to strengthen an objective knowledge of the USSR even if 1956 - as well as the Pasternak case - confused many of its members. Paradoxically, Barbieri’s dyna-mism was the main weak spot in relations with the Italian Communist Party and the So-viet interlocutors who could not stand the autonomy of "Italy-USSR" in launching ini-tiatives that were often considered too elitist and far from the masses. The ICP inter-vened to strengthen political control over the association just when the unofficial ef-forts of "Italy-USSR" had contributed to the signing of the 1960 intergovernmental cul-tural agreement between the two countries.

Keywords: International cultural relations, Italy-USSR, cultural cold war, unofficial cultural diplo-macy, propaganda

Stefano Pisu, L’associazione "Italia-Urss" dal dopoguerra alla Guerra Fredda: diplomazia culturale ufficiosa e propaganda sovietica (1944-1960) in "MONDO CONTEMPORANEO" 2-3/2020, pp 21-43, DOI: 10.3280/MON2020-002002