Rachel Polonsky

‘Engineers of Souls’

Moscow, the Fourth Rome: Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931–1941


Harvard University Press 420pp £25.95 order from our bookshop

‘Two Romes have fallen, Moscow is the third, and there will be no fourth!’ The title of Katerina Clark’s cultural history of the Soviet 1930s is taken from the resonant prophecy of the sixteenth-century Russian monk, Filofei of Pskov, who proclaimed Moscow the final centre of Christendom. Sergei Eisenstein invoked the monk’s words in a 1933 article about his (never realised) film Moscow: ‘this pronouncement by Filofei comes across to us from medieval times … Moscow as a concept is the concentration of the socialist future of the entire world.’

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