Can great art be produced in a police state? Josef Stalin ran one of the most oppressive regimes in world history. Nevertheless, Stalinist Russia produced an outpouring of artistic works of immense power. More than a dozen great artists were visible enough for Stalin to take an interest in them – which meant he chose whether they were to live in luxury and be publicly honoured or to be sent to the Lubyanka for torture and execution.
Journalist and novelist Andy McSmith brings together the stories of these artists, revealing how they pursued their art, often at great risk.