‘Future and past’ examines the Soviet Union's own sense of its historical trajectory. Marxism provided a theory of revolution and economic development, one which Lenin accelerated through the Bolshevik revolution. Bolshevik Marxism was future-orientated, with a prophetic side fostered through Socialist Realism. Public announcements like the 1936 Constitution marked progress. Brezhnev era stagnation saw the once-imminent future slip away. The Bolsheviks also had to create a credible history, first of revolution, and then of Russia itself, enlisting imperial heroes in the service of patriotism. World War II provided the Soviet Union's defining historical event. Only under Gorbachev was there a reckoning with the past, which continued after 1991.