Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen> [Hrsg.]
Artium Quaestiones — 5.1991

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the formation of independent artists' unions, the nationalization of
publishing houses and film ateliers as well as the subordination of their
control to the government, the frontal propaganda attack on the
intelligentsia as a bourgeois-reactionary element tied to counter-revolu-
tionary forces. I also recall here the repressive steps taken by the new
establishment toward a political character 'par excellence:' including
the decree to the press prohibiting the appearance of opposition
newspapers, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the institutio-
nal and physical liquidation of all political parties and its leaders (except
the communist party of course) and as the result of the above, the
establishing of the Bolshevik monopoly of power, the restricting of the
role of the Workers Councils and finally the quelling of the Kronstadt
uprising and the daily terror of the all-powerful Cheka.
The only group that quickly broke the surrounding silence of Bols-
heviks, and that was despite the initial caution taken by certain creators
(for example Mayakowsky ^), was naturally those artists widely unders-
tood as futurists. In the October Revolution, these artists recognized
their own 'futurist' revolution. Their alliance with the 'nouveau regime'
thus seemed natural. It was to be an alliance of the artistic left with the
political left. These artists were convinced that they alone were the
authors of the 'real revolution', while 'October coup d'etat' was merely
the continuation of their work. This alliance, of course, had the character
of an extorted 'consensus'. It functioned in spite of reluctant party
leaders, with Lenin at their front, in the face of futurist aesthetics; and
what is more, in spite of an objection to futurists' artistic practices held
by Lunacharsky, who would more readily see himself surrounded by the
so-called proletarian writers than the avant-garde. The Commissar,
however, had no choice — the ,,leftist" creators were the only ones who
revealed full enthusiasm toward collaboration. Lunacharsky realized
that the aggressive and intolerant manifestations of the avant-garde,
through a certain „dictatorship by minority," discouraged potential new
collaborators, thus making impossible for him the expansion of control
over the wider area of artists' milieu.
The avant-garde strategy for functioning in the new reality is reminis-
cent, to a certain extent, of the communists' strategy. It relied on the
monopolization of the artiste life and the discrediting of opponents.
There is the well known mastering by these artists of key-positions in the
cultural life of Soviet Russia, the complete taking possesion of the Art
Department (IZO) at the Commissariat of Enlightenment, the trial


B. Jangfeldt:,,Russian Futurism 1917-1919," Art,Society, Revolution ..., op, cit., pp. 121
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