“A People’s Tragedy: the Russian Revolution 1891-1924”

russian revolution figes

“A panorama of Russian society on the eve  of the revolution and the story of its violent erasure”, according to the publisher’s note, prof. Figes’s main opus on the Russian revolution is huge in scope, thorough in unique research, composed with energy, story aptitude, and human empathy. Starting from the Famine of 1891-1892 and ending in 1924, with the death of Lenin, it argues that by then “the basic elements of the Stalinist regime – the one-party state, the system of terror and the cult of the personality – were all in place”. Many view the Russian Revolution as the most noteworthy occasion of the twentieth century. Recognized researcher Orlando Figes presents a scene of Russian culture on the eve of that upset, and after that portrays the account of how these social powers were brutally deleted. Inside the expansive feeds of war and upset are scaled down histories of people, in which Figes takes after the primary players’ fortunes as they saw their expectations bite the dust and their reality collide with ruins. Dissimilar to past records that follow the birthplaces of the upset to overextending political powers and beliefs, Figes contends that the disappointment of majority rule government in 1917 was profoundly established in Russian culture and social history and that what had begun as a people’s insurgency contained the seeds of its degeneration into savagery and fascism.

2017 is of course the first centenary since the “ten days that shook the world”. However, the exact day of the event varies from the original and highly symbolic October 25th according to the Julian calendar to November 7th of the “new style“.

A new centenary edition of the book with a new introduction has been published recently, as Figes’ text has become a fundamental work, along with others such as The Russian Revolution by Pipes. For an exhaustive bibliography on the topic see its page on the Oxford Bibliographies website.

By the same author, “Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991: A History” follows the life of the Soviet Union from his birth to its collapse. Shorter in length and wider in scope, the book investigates if and how the revolutionary tenets and goals set in 1917 held throughout the subsequent decades, under the short, dense and partly experimental rule of Lenin, through the long, despotic reign of Stalin, all the way to Gorbachev’s perestroika and  USSR final demise.

The “red October” being a major event in the world history of the nineteenth century, it obviously has a major role in several courses of both our Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy and  the Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy. Students of these curricula willing to develop their knowledge about these topics are encouraged to search for further resources (including Figes’) on our library’s online catalog, on the LIRN portal, at the American Library in Paris (SIU students’ membership is paid by Schiller) or at any other of the facilities listed on the Paris campus library page.