The Hideous Times of Breakup on Russian Revolution and Culture

Glebova I.I.


This text brings us back to the Russian Revolution of 1917 – its epoch, mindset context and metaphysics. The author focuses on the revolutionary consonance of the cultural, social and political. The European culture in 1890s – 1990s – 1910s was full of the «music of revolution»: striving for subversion, rejection of authorities, traditions, search for the new (forms, images, narratives). In Russian culture, which in the 19th – beginning of the 20th century represented a bright and dynamic element of the European cultural space, the desire to «contravene» and the wish for radical change were especially evident. It had always had in itself a powerful passion for schisms, ruptures, nihilistic fervor. This is largely why the transitions to the new historic state of affairs had revolutionary nature. The 20th century with its new world (industrialism, urbanism, mass societies, revolutions in consciousness, ways of life and modes of thinking) and futuristic culture of modernism fueled these passions, provoking new clashes. In the author’s view, the most dangerous was the divide between «the old» and «the new» (this being the main conflict in any revolution) of that sociality, which was created by the European cultural vaccine («St. Petersburg vs St. Petersburg»). The origins of this threat are to be found in cultural space. Those pioneering creators of the beginning of the 20th century – the cultural vanguard of «the new Russia» / «new St. Petersburg» – who shaped that space were full of energy for uncompromising search, experiment, fight against all the obsolete that stood in the way of creativity, in the way of youth. «The past is narrow», «only we are the face of our time», – that is what they brought in literature, arts and science. «Detonations» made by them were so powerful that they couldn't but have an impact on political, economic and social practices. The cultural ascent brought extraordinary tension to the conflicts between the old and the new forces, absolutist rule («old» ruling class) and society headed for new social horizons. Culture itself was one of the contexts of the Russian Revolution, one of its «laboratories».


revolution; temporal orientations; modernism; St. Petersburg; society; creators; science; arts; «new man»; freedom.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2020.04.05

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