Although since de-Stalinization in the 1950s, Soviet citizens have witnessed a noticeable influx of elements of western culture in their lives, their imagination of the living standards in the continuum of countries situated behind the western border was based on a usually distorted understanding of certain values and images of that region. Such an imagination encouraged people to engage with practices that, non-existing or marginal in the west, came to be associated with an allegedly better life existent there. The material evidence of such a form of imagination was visible in simple everyday practices, like home decoration, listening to music, and procurement of clothing. Regular imitation of Western life, also known as practicing Imaginary West, defined some markers of a late Soviet generation’s identity. The analysis of such a cultural construct became crucial for the better understanding of identity processes in the Soviet and then post-Soviet region. Scholars, who analysed how the space of the Imaginary West was developed in Soviet times, believed that practices and discourses that originated from this cultural construct were doomed to disappear with the fall of the Iron curtain. This article first of all questions whether the transformation from imaginary to real takes place and how did ordinary people experience this change? This work tries to answer these questions through the exploration of the phenomenon of Evroremont, which is a type of renovating practice, based on different interpretations of western interior designs, which started to become mainstream across the territory of the former Soviet Union in the beginning of the 1990s. An analysis of 38 semi-structured interviews conducted in L’viv presents a myriad of symbolic meanings of this phenomenon and indicates why and how Evroremont could be considered a further materialization of the Imaginary West.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-134
JournalJournal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe
Volume25
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Aug 2017

ID: 29136993