Mass Culture in Soviet Russia

Art and culture seems to have been parallel with the greatest of the political philosophy Russia was seeing at the time. Russia had already begun to emerge a little bit on the international stage, but not enough. These artists wanted to explode this emergence and make the Russian art known throughout the world. This puts an emphasis on each individual in their part of the whole. Revolutionaries wanted to remake the world and believed that they could this new world into one in which things are unified. The poems “We Grow out of Iron”, “The War of Kings”, “The Iron Messiah”, and “We” all abound with metal imagery. This can be interpreted as symbolic of the development (or creation) of the new communist man. The symbolism of “Soviet metal” explores both the political and artistic revolutions that were taking place, as well as their common sentiment and objective of unification. The imagery of metal gives the reader a sense of how much the mass industrialization taking place at the time influenced the attitude of hope and power felt by both artistic and political revolutionaries. The workers were the revolutionaries; they were hardened (or “steeled”) to the heavy metal and machinery of their trades, and unified via this harsh labor. Aleksei Gastev in fact, author of “We Grow Out of Iron”, worked in Russian and European factories and his experiences as a laborer steered him toward Marxism. Revolution for Gastev endeavored to enable workers by sanctioning them power over day-to-day work related practices. Gastev was also involved in the efforts of the Petersburg Union of Metal Workers. His poetry powerfully exults in industrialization; declaring it an era of an innovative form of man, qualified by the total modernization of his routine existence as a laborer.

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  1. This is the importance of the Russian “Avant Garde”. As we have seen in the production “The Rite of Spring”, a new type of art was in the process of development. As you stated above, the importance of this new adaptation of how Russian peasantry thought was essential to execute the vision of Marx. An educated working class was the first step in realizing a true eventual communist state. Before this however, finding a way to execute educating the populace needed to come first. It was because of the Avant Garde that the arts, science, and theatrical productions were reimaged and provoked new ways to formulate thought and ideas. This was the basis of a cultural revolution in the eyes of Marx.

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