Vorträge & Konferenzen

Private Lives, Intimate Readings

This paper’s main goal is to show that Sovi­et notions of pri­va­cy – which were devel­oped in crowd­ed Sovi­et com­mu­nal appart­ments, also known as the kom­mu­nal­ki – can still be found in con­tem­po­rary Russ­ian (micro-)blogs. This find­ing does not come as a sur­prise. Russ­ian Inter­net (Runet) cul­ture is, to a cer­tain extent, quite dif­fer­ent from its ‘West­ern’ coun­ter­parts, which may be explained in part by his­tor­i­cal devel­op­ments. The Sovi­et regime looked upon com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies as being poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous and thus, neglect­ed and even hin­dered their devel­op­ment (Schmidt 2011: 55). The Inter­net got avail­able to a larg­er pub­lic audi­ence only after the col­lapse of the Sovi­et union in 1989. Because of this delay, Runet cul­ture until today is quite unique. For exam­ple, Russ­ian blog por­tals (, social net­works (, and search engines ( are wide­ly unknown in the ‘West’, but dom­i­nate the Russ­ian mar­ket.. Of course not all of Runet’s pecu­liar­i­ties can be attrib­uted to tech­ni­cal his­to­ry only. I want to argue that the past Sovi­et expe­ri­ences of Russ­ian blog­gers have influ­ence, too: They shape the per­cep­tion of pri­va­cy and pub­lic­i­ty. This impact of the Sovi­et past can be felt in many exam­ples of Russ­ian online life writ­ing. By means of exam­in­ing the blogs of best-sell­ing fan­ta­sy author Sergei Luk’ianenko (, and the Twit­ter pro­file of Runet poet Linor Gora­lik (, I strive to show that both writ­ers and read­ers of on-line Russ­ian life writ­ing texts still are spell­bound by Sovi­et pri­va­cy con­cep­tions. This fac­tor thus should not be neglect­ed in stud­ies of Russ­ian life writing.





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