When the Soviet communist empire was overthrown by the Russians themselves in August 1991, the change was more clearly anticipated by humanistic students of creativity than by economic and political scientists surrounded by statistics and information. Does the Russian pattern of creativity provide any hints as to how the Russians might solve problems today? Having borrowed the democratic political model of their erstwhile American enemy, will they be able to create a distinctive Russian variant that can endure? Or will they end up destroying their own experiment at accountable, constitutional government and returning to their long tradition of authoritarianism?
The Face of Russia--a companion book to the corresponding PBS series--addresses these questions. This is a dazzling and forward-looking history of the Russian people as told through their art--from one of the world's great experts on Russian culture. The story covers eight hundred years of Russian creativity, and introduces us to the new art forms that burst onto the Russian scene and became the vehicles for expressing the creative aspirations of an age as well as the enduring Russian quest to find salvation and entertainment in art.