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Tour the State Vladimir Mayakovsky Museum

The State Vladimir Mayakovsky Museum located in Moscow, Russia, pays tribute to the life and works of a man who is widely considered to have been Russia’s greatest 20th century poet and who was in the forefront of Russian Futurism. The museum was opened in 1974 in the house where Vladimir Mayakovsky lived, and where he committed suicide. The house has been modeled to preserve his personal living space, while best displaying his visually powerful manuscripts as well as his agitprop posters.

The term “agitprop” was coined as a contraction of the words “agitation” and “propaganda” and this originated in Bolshevist Russia when the country was undergoing tremendous changes. As a person sensitive to issues involving his fellow Russians, Mayakovsky was quite outspoken on political issues as is reflected in the work he produced while employed by the Russian State Telegraph Agency.

Born in Georgia in 1893, Vladimir Mayakovsky moved to Moscow with his family when he was a teenager, and his involvement in radical politics began at this time. Certainly, more than any other Russian writer, this outspoken, deep-thinking poet voiced the hopes and aspirations of the ordinary citizen in the period leading up to the 1917 revolution. He participated in demonstrations which led to his arrest on several occasions and eventually to his incarceration in Butyrskaya Prison, and it was there that he first began to express himself in poetry. He embraced Futurism and became a high-profile and controversial figure in the avant garde society of Moscow and St Petersburg prior to the revolution. He whole-heartedly supported the Bolshevik seizure of power and devoted himself to the creation of a new art form for the working class. It is believed that his suicide in 1931 may have been as a result of his struggle to adapt to the restrictions placed on art by the Bolshevik regime, which sought to curb his individualism, as well as his disillusionment with the direction Soviet Union was taking under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.

Vladimir Mayakovsky’s charisma and his deep sincerity appealed to the masses, irrespective of their social standing. Some of his politically motivated poems were included in the literature syllabus at schools right up until the fall of the Soviet Union. His birthplace in Georgia was renamed in his honor and statues, as well as his gravesite at Novodevichy and the State Vladimir Mayakovsky Museum stand as testimony to a man of extraordinary talent.


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