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Introduction. Utopia and Dystopia: The Impulse of History

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond, which deals particularly with Russian notions of utopia and dystopia, along with their social, artistic, literary and ideological ramifications. The book explores visual and cultural aspects of utopia, and covers the whole period from 1900 right up to the fall of Communism and even into the present century. It explains how and why the utopian aspirations within Russian society turned into the dystopian nightmare of Stalinism. The book reviews the militarisation of labour, the Tambov and Kronstadt rebellions, the suppression of anarchism, the removal of avant-garde artists, socialist realism, cybernetic communism as a new Western art, Slavophiles' retrospective utopianism, and October Revolution of 1917.

Keywords: anarchism; Communism; dystopia; October Revolution; revolutionary Russia; Slavophiles; socialist realism; Stalinism; utopia



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