Perestroika and 100 wilted flowers

Perestroika and glasnost  were terms Gorbachev used to embody his cultural reforms and openness to Western influence. The Chinese, too, had a period of openness. In 1956 Mao said that,  “The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science.” This “100 Flowers Movement” was ended in 1957 with political persecutions. Both Communist powers handled political dissonance in the second half of the 20th century differently, with the USSR embracing and the Chinese silencing controversy.  Though, to look at it all now, the USSR has been disbanded and China is still heavily controlled by a limited ruling class.

In 2009, Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov with a button that said “Peregruzka — Reset.” The word peregruzka, presented in the Latin and not the Cyrillic alphabet, would translate as “overload” instead of “reset”. Lavrov noticed the error immediately. Given this anecdote, should the United States continue to remain closed to foreign influences and cultures? Russia had a period of openness and voluntary consumption of foreign goods, whereas China had tried to limit all culture through administrative measures. Can the United States thrive on their genetically modified single-crop harvests, or will they eventually need to open themselves up to the world’s hundred flowers?

One thought on “Perestroika and 100 wilted flowers

  1. I’m not sure I would say that the US is closed off to outside influences. What examples are you thinking of? Now if you said the US State Department is generally unenlightened about other cultures…no argument!

Leave a Reply to jessicak Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *