Caffeinated Avant-Garde: Futurism During the Russian Civil War 1917–1921



Scholarship on Russian Futurism often interprets this avant-garde movement as an essentially utopian project, unrealistic in its visions of future Soviet society and naïve in its comprehension of the Bolshevik political agenda. This article questions such interpretations by demonstrating that the activities of Russian Futurists during the Civil War period represented a measured response to what was a challenging contemporary socio-political reality. By examining the development of Futurist ideology through this period, considering first-hand Futurist descriptions of dealing with the fledgling Soviet system, and recalling Slavoj Žižek's interpretations of revolution and utopianism, a different image of the Futurist project emerges. Futurism, indeed, was a movement far more aware of the intricacies of its historical period than has previously been recognised.