The impact of cultural relations and cultural exchange on

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Maria Kunavina

A Thesis Submitted in
Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of

Master of Arts

in European Culture


The Palacky University, Olomouc
January 2012

Thesis Supervisor in the Palacky University: Marketa Zidkova, PhD

Thesis Supervisor in the Uppsala University: Mathias Perrson, PhD



CHAPTER I. The Cultural Relations between France and Russia as an Example of the Realization of the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity 6

CHAPTER II. Cultural relations between Russia and France in the Eighteenth Century. Dominance of the French culture. 15

French perception of Russia 16

Russian perception of France 21

The Cultural Impact of France on Russia 30

French Theatre 30

The Influence of the French Language on Russian Literature and Language 31

Chapter Summary 37

CHAPTER III. Cultural relations between Russia and France in the XIX century. Formation of full-fledged cultural dialogue. 39

Role of 1812 44

The Crimean War 49

Franco - Russian Rapprochement 52

Russia Exhibited 53

The Cultural interaction between France and Russia 55

Scientific and art exchange 55

Theatre 55

Architecture 59

Chapter Summary 61

CHAPTER IV. Change of the character of French-Russian cultural dialogue in the twentieth century and beginning of the twenty-first century 63

Before 1917 63

Diaghilev and Saisons Russes 65

After 1917 70

Russian Emigrants in France 70

Official cultural dialogue between France and USSR 73

Cultural events between France and USSR 74

After 1991 77

Chapter Summary 79

CHAPTER V. The Role of Cultural Exchange Programs in Amendment of “Self”-perception and Perception of “Self” by the “Other” 81

Cultural Exchange Program as a Part of International Relations between countries 82

Analysis and Comparison of “Self”- image of France in Exchange Programs 86

Russian Perception of France through the Analysis of Russian TV Projects Dedicated to the Year 2010 89

Chapter Summary 93



Bibliography 98


This thesis is dedicated to the impact of cultural relations and cultural exchange on perception of France in Russia and Russia in France for the period from the beginning of the eighteenth to the beginning of the twenty first centuries. The dialogue between Russia and France may serve as one of cases when cultural aspect of International relations could prevail over political events. It doesn’t mean, however, that culture was entirely separated and independent from official state relations between the countries. Quite the contrary, as the study shows some cultural phenomena had political event as a background for their emergence.

Before the examination of the work it is necessary to mention what components are included in the definition “cultural relations and exchange”. There are five main processes: cultural stereotypes formation, formation of concepts “self” and “other”, penetration of one country’s elements into the other, inclusion of cultural experience of one country in the culture of the other and, as a result, interaction of cultures.

In this study, one of the main subjects of investigation is cultural self-perception and formation of the image of “self” and “other”. To make it clear the terms “self” and “other” are used in the work in two meanings. The first one is traditional, when under the term “self” Europe or one of European countries is represented. “Other” then refers to the country that “self” uses as an opposition. The second meaning is based on belonging to certain country and culture. In this case, “self” is native culture and country and “other” is other different culture or state.1

The study of “self” and “other” brings us to the formulation of two interrelated research questions. The first question is what role cultural interaction plays in formation of the image of “self” and “other”. The second one is why cultural dialogue and exchange are important in the process of International relations.

The first hypothesis is as follows. A significant role of cultural interaction in formation of the image of “self” and “other” is based on two main factors. Cultural interaction allows to correct and to change image of “self” and “other” depending on the character of relations between its participants. And, even more importantly, cultural interaction exerts an influence on the formation of the “other” culture by using the cultural experience of the “self”.

The second hypothesis is that an important role of cultural dialogue and exchange is explained by their specific character. On the one hand, they interact with political events and can experience the influence of the latter. The influence can be positive either for one of the country’s national culture or for the dialogue as a whole. On the other hand, cultural dialogue and exchange are capable to demonstrate their independence and continue their development even in periods of “cooling” of official relations between the countries.

The peculiarities of historical evolution of Franco-Russian cultural contacts within the period of the eighteenth – twenty first centuries support the given above statements. France in the course of three centuries was an embodiment of Europe for Russia. By adopting French cultural experience Russia confirmed its belonging to Europe not only geographically but also spiritually. To obtain recognition of France became an obligatory condition for Russian both political and cultural milieu. Although Franco-Russian cultural relations became quite stable from the eighteenth century, their character and intensity were different in the course of history, as well as the roles of the main two players. In the eighteenth century France demonstrated its superiority in the field of culture. Situation began to change in the nineteenth century, when a series of events showed the need to recognize the achievements of Russia by France. Late nineteenth-early twentieth century, in turn, showed French interest in Russian culture, which in this case, did not mean decline of Russian interest in France that was always high. History of the twentieth century was marked by several key events that were opposed in the character of their influence. Official cultural dialogue, flattened almost to a minimum from 1917 - 1980s, was again intensively supported after 1991.

Overall, the aim of this piece of work is to contribute to an increase in intercultural and transcultural research. Recently a large number of works is dedicated to the topic of transcultural relations that are regarded as a guarantee for successful dialogue between countries, promotion of “self” abroad and perception of “other” culture.2 The history of cultural relations between Russia and France can serve as an example of how “cultural intermixing” works and develops in practice.

The research paper at hand is structured as follows: introduction, chapters 1 – 5, conclusion, bibliography. Chapter 1 examines the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) by Milton J. Bennet as a theoretical basis for the further historical analysis. An overview of the role of stereotypes in the field of cultural relations between countries and especially in the formation of “self”- perception and perception of the “other” is also elaborated in this part of work. Chapters 2-3 outline the processes of emergence, development and revision of “self” and the “other” – France and Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Chapter 4 discusses the qualitatively different period of the twentieth century when Franco - Russian cultural relations were twice influenced significantly by the political events. In connection with this a special attention is given to the examination of the period 1917-1991. This period comprises two different forms of interaction, firstly, the official relations between the two countries and the cultural events supported by the governments accordingly, secondly, non-official cultural events. The latter section deals mainly with the role of Russian emigrants in France and their impact on the continuation of cultural mutual enrichment of the countries. Chapter 5 contains a case study of the year 2010 which was the exchange year of Russia in France and France in Russia. This is followed by the concluding discussion, which summarizes the main findings and puts forward some general observations based on these.

The examination of the historical facts is based on the methods of comparativism, synchronism and on diachronic approach. Synchronism is needed to study events that take place in two countries in the same period of history. A diachronic approach allows for an evaluation of events that take place in each of two countries in the course of history. The method of comparativism helps in making final conclusions that are based on the data examined with the help of synchronic and diachronic methods.

The research is based on analyses of academic works dedicated to the history and culture of France and Russia, newspaper articles, and official governmental websites of both countries. Books on the theory of international relations and intercultural communication have been used in the theoretical chapter. Video projects and TV programs have been included in the source base of the fifth chapter of the work.

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