In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it is timely and important to look back over the path Russia has traveled over a century. What did people dream of and hope for during the first decades of the Soviet period? What were they proud of? What defined thoughts and deeds of several Soviet generations? The exhibition “Destination—Communism!” invites viewers to seek answers.

The Revolution destroyed the old-time foundations of the society in order to build the new ones. Overwhelmed by all-encompassing revolutionary euphoria, members of the “new society” took a chance on the radical change of the surrounding world. Their projects featured surprising and incredible ideas, just as great as they were unfeasible.

The exhibition does not rely on a strictly chronological arrangement in telling the story of the Revolution and the subsequent events. However, the museum invites the observant visitor to travel in time together with the curators over the major events of the fast-paced beginning of the 20th century, to express awe of the people’s colossal aspirations, to feel proud of the real accomplishments, or to smile at the impossible hopes people used to sincerely cherish. The curious viewer will be able to explore and assess the scale of endeavors the Soviet people ventured upon, and notice the characteristic features of the revolutionary period.

Among these characteristic features were countrywide optimism and quenchless passion for building a better future—not just for themselves but also for the entire world. Indeed, several Soviet generations were consumed by this idea. From Internationals and the Comintern to world revolution and the prospective Communist United States of Europe—this was the scope of candid aspirations of those who attempted to create a new society where justice would thrive worldwide.

An impressive and imaginative reflection of the public aspirations, as well as a remarkable source for studying the spirit of the era, is provided by photographs and works of art of that period. The exhibition includes original photographs and artworks created between the 1910s and the 1990s by prominent painters, graphic artists, sculptors, masters of the political poster. These objects demonstrate that even in the most turbulent years our compatriots never lost their sense of humor, their unshakeable faith in the victory of their ideals, or their somewhat naïve ideas of universal happiness.

Even after the tragic ordeals the Soviet people went through in the 20th century, they kept on believing that good and just times would come soon. “This very generation of the Soviet people will see communism,” “We have reached developed socialism,” “To each Soviet family—a separate apartment,” “Each voucher is worth two Volga cars”—these and other unrealistic, naïve, and sometimes even adventuristic slogans were addressed by the authorities to the credulous and patient Russian people.

A special concern in the history of Russian society has always been the people’s attitude towards the state leaders. At all times, Russian people have eagerly blessed yet another tsar to the throne, dedicate songs and legends to the “father of the nation”, and then destroy any memory of him. Festive revolutionary posters of the first years of the Soviet state, propaganda posters of the period of Developed Socialism, or modern political posters of the Perestroika period—all of them objectively document the entire spectrum of people’s attitudes towards various historical figures and events in the life of the country.

The objects on display will definitely evoke feelings of pride and joy, admiration and sadness, enthusiasm and regret. We hope that no one will remain indifferent towards the Russian history of the 20th century; on the contrary, each will feel belonging to the past and the present of our country.

Exhibition curators Z. M. Kolovsky, E. G. Artemov, A. A. Boyko, Y. S. Usacheva, S. A. Khodakovskaya 

Design B. H. Beider