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Spartak Moscow: A History of the People's Team in the Workers' State. By Robert Edelman. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009

Koenker, DP; (2011) Spartak Moscow: A History of the People's Team in the Workers' State. By Robert Edelman. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009. [Review]. Slavic Review , 70 (2) pp. 476-477. 10.5612/slavicreview.70.2.0476. Green open access

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Abstract

Taking his cue from Johan Huizinga, who wrote in 1938 that play, as a product of leisure, was the engine of culture, and culture was the engine of history, Robert Edelman uses this deeply thoughtful, well-researched, and entertaining history of the Moscow soccer team Spartak to explore the relationship between ordinary people and the Soviet regime. Spartak, he argues, had originated as the “people’s” team, representing common, ordinary Muscovites, a team from the mean streets of industrial Moscow. In sport, unlike other areas of Soviet life, he suggests, a person was free to choose one’s team. Unlike its great rival, the police-sponsored Dinamo, Spartak relied for its existence on the institutional support of the state retail trade organization but especially on the tickets bought by its fans. Although rivalries would change, Spartak continued to be associated with anti-authoritarianism, a rough working-class masculinity, multi-culturalism, and a certain expressiveness and liberalism on and off the field. By 1941, Edelman argues that Spartak was the “home team” of about half of Moscow’s male working class, with other teams sharing the support of the rest. After the war, Spartak also became the favorite team of the new post-Stalin intelligentsia: Edelman argues that they were attracted to this team because of its tradition and mythic spirit of independence and populism.

Type: Article
Title: Spartak Moscow: A History of the People's Team in the Workers' State. By Robert Edelman. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5612/slavicreview.70.2.0476
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5612/slavicreview.70.2.0476
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions
Keywords: Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Soviet Russia, Spartak Moscow, Dinamo Moscow, Football, History, Communistic Regime, Socialism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043446
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