Creative graduates’ pathways in the hybrid cultural economy of contemporary Russia
This chapter draws some conclusions about distinctive features of post-Soviet creativity, looking at the example of the career trajectories and professional identities of recent creative graduates from Moscow and St. PetersburgThe emerging Russian contemporary art industry, in transition from the Soviet cultural monopoly to the market economy, has not yet established standards of cultural production. Until then, the organisation of creative work involves negotiation and experiment in an ideological battlefield where neoliberal creative entrepreneurialism and the principles of Soviet bureaucratic organisation can meet, accompanied by the heroisation of labour. Conducted in Moscow and St. Petersburg from 2013 to 2017, the study is based on 61 in-depth interviews with young curators, art managers and visual artists. It reveals that at least two cultural systems, based on different set of skills and promising different forms of rewards, are active in Russia at the same time. Thus, to gain access, creative graduates should be qualified in both and must be capable of switching fluently between the two systems.