Failing to distinguish modern from contemporary art is the quickest way anyone can out themselves as a philistine. Please, for the love of God, read an art history book. When it comes to Russian art, the decade following 1917 was in the hands of the Constructivists, who had much more interesting things to say about the "function" or "purpose" of art than any of the Socialist Realist painters that would come to replace them. I don't see how complaining about "abstract art and picasso" helps us formulate a critique of art as financial asset. Hell, if you actually wanted to talk about art—both in terms of labor and value, then the Constructivists would be a great starting point.
Because the early Soviet Union at its best
was fundamentally a modernist project! Back then, it was certain high-ranking party members' insistence on maintaining a sense of "heritage" in the post-revolutionary "proletarian culture" that many artists themselves had deemed bourgeois and sought to reject. They failed, and so we got 30+ years of Socialist Realism under Stalin instead; it's just Neoclassicism draped in red. If you want an illustration of this degeneration, then compare Tatlin's Tower (1920) with Iofan's Palace of the Soviets (1932). The former represents world revolution, while the latter shows a revolution being put on hold.
As much I hate on it, I have to agree. I learned to appreciate it more by reading Boris Groys. Russian art critics always provide unique perspectives.