Russia Remembers Revolution Timidly

The centenary of the Russian Revolution is being commemorated this year by major museums in Europe and the US. The Royal Academy of Arts in London, for example, is hosting a show (until 17 April), with loans from Russia, which examines the extraordinary creativity that followed the revolution and lasted until Stalin’s brutal regime clamped down on all forms of creative expression. Back in Russia, however, museums have been subdued in their commemoration of a year that changed the world. Russia’s relationship with its revolutionary past is far from simple. Ever since the Kremlin crushed a fledgling uprising by urban liberals in 2012, it has been propagating the idea that revolutions are insidious foreign imports. Yet the preserved corpse of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state, is still on display in Red Square and statues of him dominate public spaces around the country.

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