The appearance of the "style moderne" in Russian architecture at the turn of the century reflected not only the assimilation of the new European architecture (Secession, Art Nouveau), but also the movement toward an urban environment that would accommodate a social order based on private capital and the ascendency of Russia's nascent bourgeoisie. Claims for the democratic basis of the new style acquired distinctly political overtones in critical articles published between 1900 and 1905. After 1905 (a year of widespread revolutionary disorder in Russia), a reaction against the modernist aesthetic can be traced in the work of architects and critics who supported a revival of Neoclassicism. Although the new classicism provided the means to apply technological and design innovations within an established tectonic system, it was also widely interpreted as a rejection of the unstable values of individualism and the bourgeois ethos. Neoclassical architecture became the last hope for a reconciliation of contemporary architecture with cultural values derived from an idealization of imperial Russian grandeur. Yet the revival of Neoclassicism quickly manifested the same lack of aesthetic unity and theoretical direction as had the moderne, thus leading certain critics and architects to question the entire social order within which architecture functioned in the decade before the 1917 Revolution.

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