Valdai Paper #81: The Russian Revolution of 1917: History, Memory, and Politics

30.01.2018

In 100 years since the Revolution of 1917, it continues to have impact on the Russian society. Divergent assessments of the Revolution and different approaches to its commemoration have been sparking off heated debates on Russia’s past and future that emphasize the need to reconcile different narratives.

The Revolution 100th anniversary triggered vigorous public and professional debates, which were facilitated by a certain distance of the Russian government, which avoided to formulate an official position on the Revolution.

Different narratives towards the Revolution manifest conflicting approaches to its commemoration and are backed by several public actors providing and promoting their perspectives upon the issue. Was the Revolution a moment of national glory? Alternatively, was it a missed opportunity for democratic development? Was it possible to avoid the Revolution?

Commemoration policy is considered to be a national consolidation tool. However, just a glance at the abovementioned questions shows how wide the gap between different stances is and why it is of crucial importance to reconcile these positions.

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