From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Russian literature is considered to be among the most influential literature in the world. Russia has a rich literary history, beginning with the poet Alexander Pushkin, considered the greatest Russian poet and often described as the "Russian Shakespeare". In the nineteenth century Russian literature underwent an astounding golden age, beginning with the poet Pushkin and culminating in two of the greatest novelists in world literature, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Russia has remained a leading nation in literature since that time. Significant Russian writers of the Soviet period were Boris Pasternak. In the field of the novel, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in particular were titanic figures, and have remained internationally renowned, to the point that many scholars have described one or the other as the greatest novelist ever.
In music, the Romantic tradition of Tchaikovsky was brought into the 20th century by Sergei Rachmaninoff. During the Soviet Era, music was highly scrutinized and kept within certain boundaries of content and innovation; notable composers included Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich.
Russia has a revered and recognised tradition of ballet. Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the most famous works of ballet - Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty. During the early 20th century, Russian dancers Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky rose to fame, and Ballets Russes' travels abroad profoundly influenced the development of dance worldwide for decades to come.
Russian filmmaking came to prominence during the 1920s when it explored editing as the primary mode of cinematic expression, resulted in world-renowned films such as Battleship Potemkin. This outburst of creativity and innovation was short-lived, however. In the 1930s, Soviet censorship stifled creativity. Later Soviet-era filmmakers, most notably Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky, would become some of the world's most innovative and influential directors. Russian cinema has been transformed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. During the 1990s, Russian filmmaking decreased sharply, but recent years have brought increased viewership and subsequent prosperity to the industry through exploration of contemporary subjects.