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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Aaron Retish


The Twelfth World Festival of Youth and Students that took place in Moscow in 1985 has largely been forgotten, but historical analysis of the event reveals that it had significant implications for the Soviet Union and Cold War. This thesis argues that the festival was a public ceremony that the Soviet Union used to prove its domestic stability and its role as a leader in the fight for world peace to its own people, counterparts in the West, and allies and potential allies in the South and East. The symbols and concrete measures that the Soviet Union used—and the reactions it received to both its internal conditions and attempts at internationalism—were dependent on the audience in question. The differences reflected the different relations and politics at stake during this important year in Soviet and Cold War history that was characterized by a transition displayed in the festival itself.

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