Nostal’giia: The Soviet Channel
One of the best things I’ve found during my stay in Kyiv thus far has been the television station, Nostal’giia (Ностальгия). Advertised as “the station for those who remember,” Nostal’giia provides a steady stream of television shows, programs, music and news from the Soviet Union (circa roughly 1960-1990). Owned by the Russian company, and provided through the NTV-package, the station is shown in twelve countries, including the US.
I absolutely adore watching the daily news. Bits and pieces from various news broadcasts are cobbled together and shown from the same day in history. Nothing like a plate of pelmeni and a little news from the Soviet Union in 1979 at the end of a long day (I’m sure there are a few 60+ year-old babi who agree with me). What is best about the station is you can watch this fascinating footage without external mediation. At least in my experience, I’ve been exposed to Soviet television footage mainly through documentary-like materials, where the content is always being shaped into a narrative. Not, of course, to say there is anything wrong with that, but the ability to simply watch news without being routinely reminded about the evil that was the Soviet Union is a pleasant change of pace. Media tools like Youtube are also certainly making this much more possible now than in the past.
This week in the archives, I actually read about a reference to TV interview from the 1960s that interested me. Typically, I wouldn’t see many documents from the 1960s, but they were in reference to the Nazi occupation. I actually thought to myself, “How would I even find the footage for this interview?” I’m sure my comrades who work on the post-Stalin period (the exotic late-50’s and 1960s!) would have a good idea about these types of archival materials. Television is certainly an entirely different vista of research for those working in later periods than I.
I just watched the program, “Tema,” from 1991 that featured the discussion, “Is there racism in our country?” And now I’m watching an actor from the 1970s perform Shakespeare alone on a stage. Amazing stuff.