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The Bolshevik Heritage

The Russian Revolution of 1917 is one of the most enigmatic events of modern history. It arose out of massive popular disgust with war; yet heralded a civil war leading to an even greater loss of life. The revolution began with a quest for democracy, yet resulted in a regime wherein the political police took centre stage in the lives not only of political opponents but of the ruling party itself. It was legitimised in the name of the soviets, yet in three years these organs of workers’ power were reduced to shadows of their former selves. Its success was based upon a worker–peasant alliance, yetthat alliance was torn to shreds long before the collectivisation of the 1930s. Was it one revolution or two? Was the second one the “real” revolution or did it put an end to the aspirations of the first? Did Bolshevism signify living proof of the so-called Marxist “laws of history,” or the completely contingent nature of historical events? These questions are part of the enigma of Bolshevism. A century after the revolution unfolded, we have the benefit not only of hindsight, but also of a massive, hitherto unseen archive, made accessible after 1991. An entire century passed in the shadow of 1917.It is time to think of it afresh.



 

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Updated On : 3rd Nov, 2017

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