Marina Davydova impugns what she calls a “total conservative revolution” in Russian culture. Self-censorship has rendered censorship superfluous, she argues, as reverence for fossilized classics forbids their transformation or modernization. Her polemic traces the cult of the past back to Stalin, who “turned classics (from Pushkin to Tchaikovsky) into icons,” replacing religion with a sacred artistic canon. “Aesthetics,” Davydova contends, “is more important than politics. I’m sure that fascist ideology grows out of fascist aesthetics.”

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