THE KREMLIN OF MOSCOW, text by Jiri Burian and Oleg A. Shvidkovsky; photographs by Karel Neubert (St. Martin's, $25). The Kremlin has been standing since the wooden original of the 12th century was erected. Over the centuries, it was fortified and elaborated upon until it became as much as symbol of strength and continuity as a work of architecture. That evolution is detailed in the 30 pages of introduction. And the 161 technically splendid photographs which follow reveal the surprising opulence of the place: the walls, gardens, spires and minarets; the interior rooms with their brilliant portals and inlay; the furtrimmed, jewel-encrusted crown of Peter the Great; and the elaborate vestments of the czars.

NEW ART FROM THE SOVIET UNION: The Known and the Unknown, by Norton Dodge and Alison Hilton (Acropolis, $14.95). If you thought of Soviet art as one long and dreary mural entitled "The Victory of the Peoples' Collective Turnip Farm," this volume will change your mind. Instead of the expected social realism, almost every major tendency in modern Western art is represented. Eight specialized essays on various aspects of Soviet art serve as a preface to some 70 pages of well-printed illustrations, some in color, which demonstrate the multiform creativity and stylistic breadth of the modern Russians.

RUSSIAN APPLIED ART: Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Century, compiled and introduced by E. Ivanova (Aurora/Abrams, $25) is an attractive and sturdily bound volume containing 172 superb photographs of the decorative and applied art collection in the Russian Museum at Leningrad. The delicate porcelains and finely wrought stemware, decanters, candelabra and vases are perhaps not what one might expect from the rough artisans of the snow-swept steppes. But most of this collection dates from the great age of the czars - and their francophilic tastes are abundantly represented.