It should be understood that Sots-Realism as an artistic phenomenon (and, naturally, in its particular manifestation as painting) by and large was constructed, rather than developing organically. Of course, its framework made space for those who couldn't work any other way, simply because of the nature of their creative orientation – for instance, Igor Grabar, Aleksandr Gerasimov or Vasily Efanov, as well as the stable of artists from the late Peredvizhniki, who saw this new cultural turn as a return to the good old days. But all the same, if we analyze its development, then we can clearly understand how the "machinery" came to be, how the superfluous elements were swept aside and the base design refined, establishing an optimal "grade" for the products of Sots-Realism; in the formal arsenal used by budding Sots-Realist painters, one can find techniques borrowed from Impressionism, Expressionism, Modernism, Post-Impressionism, Naïve Art, folk painting, and art from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Now it was as if some kind of collective creative consciousness could definitively resolve the question as to what of all of this was worth using and what needed to be discarded. As a result, we ended up with the famous trio, the "Great R's" – Rembrandt, Rubens, and Repin, each with their own stylistic imperative for Soviet painters (although this is quite a paradox, if we think about it logically) – became the foundations for the genre, which one had to accept, heavy heart and all. In the training process, Sots-Realism was frequently substituted with the much more effective (and much more contradictory) formula: "Alexander Ivanov's drawing + Vasily Surikov's painting." For the education of creative individual as a whole, like with the best artists of the past – including that same Ivanov (who, let's note, painted and sketched exactly like Ivanov, just as Surikov painted and sketched just like Surikov, and no one else) – this method is detrimental. But – and this seems a key point to me – a system that cultivates an artist for whom art is not something supernatural, not some kind of revelation, but just a construction made up of this, this and that (and all these elements are known), which can be augmented and modified is a system that is much closer to the model for creative production that we see today. When something doesn't work for you, you just get rid of that element and bring in something else, or even a few other things. In a word, here you have real working possibilities.