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Three major Russian art shows are marching into town

By Matt Breen

Valentina Kulagina, 'To the Defence of the USSR', 1930. Ne boltai! Collection

Attention, comrades! This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution, when the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace in St Petersburg and ushered in the era of Soviet communism. Which is why there are three major shows about Russian art coming to town. Here's what you should expect.

'Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32' at the Royal Academy, Feb 11–Apr 17 

The RA is casting its eye over the painterly side of the Revolution, and how Russian art radically changed in those tumultuous early years of socialism. Expect everything from abstract black squares to pictures of peasants waving sickles.

Boris Mikailovich Kustodiev, 'Bolshevik', 1920. State Tretyakov Gallery Photo. © State Tretyakov Gallery.

'Imagine Moscow: Architecture, Propaganda, Revolution' at the Design Museum, Mar 15-Jun 4

The Design Museum is gathering a truckload of Soviet art, architectural blueprints and propaganda to plunge visitors into a kind of utopian Moscow that was never fully realised. Expect lots of statues of Lenin. And peasants waving sickles.

Valentina Kulagina, 'We Build', 1930s. Ne boltai! Collection.

'Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths' at the British Library, Apr 28–Aug 29

The British Library is doing its own literary take on the Revolution, and has gathered a wealth of material including a draft of a speech by Leon Trotsky, correspondence by Lenin, and some propaganda wallpaper. Which may well feature peasants waving sickles.

'Ialtinskaia delegatka (The Yalta Female Delegate)', 1927. © British Library.

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