Michal Boncza's review of two exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery (M Star January 22) makes for depressing reading.
He repeats the condemnation of socialist realism as a product of stupidity and intellectual brutality which destroyed the glorious art of the early revolutionary period.
This simplistic assessment of socialist realist art is encapsulated in Art and Revolution by John Berger.
Artists in the early Soviet period straddled the late 19th century and early 20th century styles of art-nouveau, impressionism, cubism, futurism and constructivism. Their roots were in Paris, Berlin or the Arts and Crafts movement.
After the Russian revolution the artistic intelligentsia rejected all previous bourgeois art resulting in the avant-garde art, architecture and cinema which still inspire us today.
Subsequently the building of a socialist state modified that ideology with the recognition that all arts must be accessible, as Berger concedes, to workers and peasants with an unsophisticated view of the world based on their own traditions.
So avant-garde was superseded by socialist realism. But it never went away. It was evident in posters, magazines, film, theatre, architecture and notably art right into the 1980s.
I saw a wonderful exhibition of the work of Alexandr Deinika (1899-1969) in the Tretyakov Gallery of Twentieth Century Art in Moscow in 2010.
Deinika bridged the avant-garde to socialist realist period in his paintings and sculpture without resorting to sycophancy.
He is one example of thousands of Soviet artists who accepted their role in recording the achievements of socialism and inspiring further generations without betraying their artistic credibility.