BASEES Annual Conference 2022

The Greek-Soviet Association (1945-1989): literature as soft power in Greek-Soviet relations during the Cold War era

Fri8  Apr04:20pm(20 mins)
Umney Lounge


Christina Karakepeli


The Greek-Soviet Alliance was founded in Athens in 1945 by a group of Soviet-friendly Greek cultural figures with the mission to promote Russian culture in Greece. To this end the institution, which was active until 1989, actively engaged in the promotion of Russian language, literature, art and cinema in Greece while encouraging intercultural exchanges between the two nations. In my paper, I will be looking at the forty-year activity of the Greek-Soviet Association to determine how this particular institution and by extension the intercultural relations—political, ideological, cultural—between Greece and the Soviet Union affected the reception of Russian and Soviet literature in Greece; how involved the institution and its network of cultural mediators were in making decisions about which works should be translated into Greek and how they should be interpreted; to what degree discourse on Russian/Soviet literature in Greece was regulated by the institution. Within this context, I will especially focus on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s position in the Russian canon promoted by the Greek-Soviet Association. I will examine whether and how Dostoevsky eschewed appropriation from a particular ideological group and discuss how his reception differs in relation to other Russian writers promoted by the Greek-Soviet Association.