That Russian artists should emigrate is not something new. In the Soviet era the history of the emigration of art and artists begins with the history of the Soviet state itself, and has had two high points over the course of time: in the mid-twenties and fifty years later, in the mid- and late seventies. The first of these waves was an emigration from revolution, the second an emigration from reaction, a flight from a total doctrine of revolutionary and proletarian art, and a flight from the totalitarian doctrine of state socialist realism. . . .
Yet this is but a simplified portrayal of a reality that is by no means simple. Reaction against avant-garde art in Soviet Russia began quite early-- just five years after the victory of October, when the party and state leadership, its hands and minds once freed from the vicissitudes of the civil war, threw itself in earnest into the politics of art. Whereas during that first period, the proponents of what was then labeled "bourgeois" realism turned up in the emigration (and this included Ilya Repin himself, the "Leo Tolstoy of Russian figurative art"), after 1921 the radical turn in Soviet policy on art drove out many of the greatest representatives of the most