Introduction
in Modernism and the making of the Soviet New Man
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book demonstrates that the relationships between utopia and reality, idealism and pragmatism, between the will for progress and the will for tyranny, are complex and that they do not always play out in the same way. It establishes that, in the 1920s Soviet power was meant to be power over means of production, while in the 1930s it was the power of demonstrating the value of socialism in one country. The book presents a particular genre of socialist realism, the environmental expertise of obshchestvennitsy, or socially minded women. It explores the history of this immense structure, clad in expensive marble and illuminated by electrical lighting, altogether the embodiment of socialist modernity.

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