ARTS are indelibly linked to the social, political and economical events in any country. Great art is made both in times of upheaval and in times of peace. The Borodin String Quartet represents the best of Russian musicianship. The quartet began in 1945 during the golden era of the Moscow Conservatory. In those days, a staggering number of famous names held sway there - Shostakovich, Oistrakh, Prokofiev and Mayakovsky. Founded by Moscow Conservatory graduates, it was initially called the Moscow Philharmonic but changed its name to the Borodin String Quartet in 1955. The Quartet, through almost 50 years of performances and music-making, has excelled, not only in its technical mastery but also in its commitment to communicate the beauty of music to audiences worldwide. So will the world continue to see the standards we are used to from what was the Soviet Union? Valentin Berlinksy, an original member of the Borodin Quartet, said: ''When the revival of Russia comes it must come from economic development but it cannot happen if there is not at the same time some sort of artistic revival as well. So we are doing everything we can to help people who come to concerts in one capacity or another to support the musical scene.'' This includes a recent international festival in Gorky initiated by the Borodin Quartet. ''It hardly ever happens in life that you have a constant high level and now it is a question of a new talent being born and being developed and of a new generation taking over,'' Berlinsky said. ''There were many great names [during the golden era]. That's absolutely clear. Many have died. Many have left. But many have returned to Russia, so the standards are still pretty high. If we talk of the extraordinary high levels of the Moscow Conservatory, however, we have to admit that the level has dropped a little. But there is a tradition in Russia and this tradition is so powerful, it will maintain levels quite well.'' But the Borodin Quartet has great confidence in the future. ''I have the idea that the quartet can be eternal, that it can go on forever,'' Berlinsky said. The Borodin String Quartet will play at the City Hall Theatre on January 30 and February 1, and at the City Hall Concert Hall on January 31.