Soviet subcultures through vintage photographs: Hippies, punks, goths, and metalheads, 1980s

The subcultures in the Soviet Union, countries cut off from the West by the infamous Iron Curtain, were a form of open youth rebellion against ideological and cultural stagnation.

Stilyagi, goths, hippies, bikers, punks, rockers and metalheads formed countercultures that often invited the wrath of Soviet communist authorities. His legacy is remembered by these paintings that show his radical self-expression, extravagant style, hairstyles, tattoos and elaborate clothing.

The Soviet state media called these groups "non-conformists", deliberately devoid of all the good qualities a Soviet citizen possessed. He was also known as the lazy parasite, the filthy, the leech of society and the fascist.

The so-called stylagi was a youth countercultural movement from the 1950s to the 1980s, whose main hallmark was the bright and flashy clothing worn by the stylagi. The literal translation of the word can be interpreted as 'stylish' or 'style hunters'.

A stylization was distinguished primarily by flamboyant clothing – preferably foreign-label, derived from fartsovshiks – which was contrary to the communist realities of the time, and zagranitsa, in line with modern western music and the beat generation. He had a fascination with fashion. English writings on Soviet culture translated the derogatory term as "dandies", "fashionists", "beatniks", "hipsters", "zoot suitors", etc.

The Soviet Union's hippie movement grew with the arrival of Western records through Eastern Europe into the black markets of several major Soviet cities. While their American contemporaries were busy denouncing consumerism, Soviet hippies yearned for American-style jeans and access to restricted music.

The factors that inspired Soviet hippies were subtly different from those experienced by their American counterparts. While American hippies rebelled against what they saw as a decadent and corrupt consumer culture in which they were forced to participate, Soviet hippies turned against a state that surrounded them with enforced conformity. .

Hippies in the Soviet Union were conservative, arrested at concerts, and harassed for their drug use and Western values. But by turning to an international youth movement, he proved that long before the Iron Curtain fell, East and West had much in common.

The founder of Russian punk is considered to be Yegor Letov with his band Grazdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defense), which began performing in the early 1980s. Letov also invented a word spoken by punk fans during concerts, hoi (a mixture of the Oi! movement and the Russian profanity word hui (literal gender)).

In the late 1980s, Sector Gaza was formed, reaching cult status. He created a style called "Kolkhoz Punk", which mixed elements of rural life into punk music.

Another cult band that debuted a few years later was Korol I Shut, which introduced horror punk, using costumes and lyrics in the form of stories and fables. Korol I Shut became one of the best-selling and most respected bands in the history of Russian rock.

With the rise in popularity of banned foreign music, alternative genres, including heavy metal, became a craze among young Soviet citizens. Heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest and Megadeth were popular among rebel Soviet youth. Followers were labeled as metalheads.

Another interesting subculture was bikers. By the early 1980s, the number of young people riding motorcycles on the streets had increased significantly. While Soviet bikers did not generally form criminal gangs, however, they preferred the same heavy rock music as their Western counterparts and thus came to be called "rockers".

Soviet rockers usually gathered in the evenings on weekends, usually somewhere close to parks or other public places. He liked to ride on sleepy roads at night and thus became the subject of intense police interest. At the same time, police motorcycles often became outdated and often couldn't keep up with bikers.

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