Current events

October at the crossroads

(This article is part of our Current Events series)

October is a month at the crossroads. Summer’s leisures have come to an end, fall is in full swing as the school year settles in and winter occasionally pokes its nose on frosty mornings. Barbecuing is officially over but it is not yet the season to serve choucroute or set up the raclette on the table. Halloween was itself meant to be a sort of crossing of paths though of a different, netherworldly, kind.

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SIU Paris Campus

Current Events Launch 2019

With the September term well under way and the fall right around the corner, the Paris campus now looks forward to the launch of “Current Events”. Every start of the month, we’ll be giving a brief overview of a selection of classes running at Schiller Paris that very month. The objective is double: provide readers an idea of our course curriculum on the one hand, and a perspective making sense of the whole on the other. Calling it “Current Events” becomes all the more appropriate as we attempt to tie in our curriculum selection with ongoing events taking place in the world at large. The mission of Schiller is to provide students a theoretical grounding and practical skills that they can deploy in the successive stages of their careers. Course content, the learning experience in Paris, interactions with faculty and classmates from around the world – all of this and more are what make the a Schiller degree a key moment before stepping into the wider world and into the current of events that continuously make their mark.

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Russian Revolution or October Revolution?

What is the Russian Revolution?

A Brief Summary

By “Russian revolution” scholars refer to two separate events that took place in 1917 which brought to the demise of the Romanovs’ tsarist regime and would shape the course of World History for the following seventy years (until 1991, date of the dissolution of the Soviet Union). The first event is the February revolution, which was largely due to spontaneous uprisings of the Saint-Petersburg population and part of the Army, after a mass protest originated by food rationing. The mid to long term causes, however spawned back in time to include a general discontent with the emperor Nicholas II and defeats inflicted to the army during the First World War.

The tragic February events, almost exclusively confined to Saint-Petersburg, resulted nevertheless in the abdication of the Tsar and the end of the Romanov dynasty.

The Provisional Government

Initially the power was taken by a liberal government, composed of noble or rich capitalist, led by prince Lvov. The Moscow Soviet did take part to the coalition, but it still didn’t have the influence that would grow of the following months: only after Vladimir Lenin’s return from the exile (a fiery come-back – at Saint Petersburg Finland Station – immediately marked by the proclamation of the need of a world-wide revolution)  would the Bolshevik strength increase and reach the critical mass needed to force the course of the events in the direction of a socialist revolution. Continue reading “Russian Revolution or October Revolution?”

Alexander Kerensky: The Leader That Never Was

Every revolution has a leader, a hero, a winner. The Chinese Revolution of 1949 marked the success of one man, Mao Zedong; Cuba still widely celebrates his Comandante Fidel Castro, Tehran’s major airport is named after the spiritual father of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini and, of course, the Soviet Union for decades cherished the memory of the man who (supposedly) gave the Russian people peace, land and bread: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by the alias Lenin. But in the crucial months of 1917, after the tsar abdicated and Russia plunged into chaos, another figure emerged, that of Alexander Kerensky. Continue reading “Alexander Kerensky: The Leader That Never Was”

Heidelberg Library Resources on Russian Revolution

Russian revolution is not similar to any other revolution; it was a coordinated planned revolution and the culmination of series of protests, political reformations and civil insurrection succeeded in 1917. Each one of these events that led to the Russian Revolution have their own kind of story, full of mystery, intrigue and drama. There are many fictions, movies, articles, documentaries and scholarly content on Russian Revolution and you may have seen or read some of them. But how can you determine if the information you have retained from watching a movie about the Russian Revolution is based on the truth? How can you evaluate your source of information and identify the most valid and reliable source from those that contain biased or flawed information?

In the first session of our Dissertation Workshops held on September 20 in the computer lab, students learned how to understand if a particular source can be used in their academic paper. This interactive workshop primarily helps the Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy students to find and evaluate primary and secondary sources of information on political science and international relations.

For instance you may look for primary sources to find photos of Battle of Tsushima and a museum archive can give you access to non-interpreted or unanalyzed picture of this battle:


If you intend to study a map from the Empire of the Tsars, you may find very helpful:

Secondary sources can tell you the story of the Russian Revolution more steps removed from the original photos or museum archived documents. You can use LIRN to get access to the scientific databases and find scholarly or peer-reviewed articles on Russian Revolution.

Rasputin’s hypnotic powers, his influence on the last Russian’s Tsar and his brutal demise have been always one of the most fascinating side-stories of the Russian Revolution. You may be wondering what the truth about Rasputin mythology is. The following article available on can be absorbing for you:

Pares, B. (1927). Rasputin and the empress: Authors of the russian collapse. Foreign Affairs (Pre-1986), 6(000001), 140.

If you need guidance on using e-Resources and finding more material on Russian Revolution, or you want to attend the next Dissertation Workshop, please contact your Librarian. You can also use other libraries’ resources that we provide you for free through the Inter-library loan services.

Please send an email to Ms. Leili Erfanian for more information.

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On the topic of the Russian revolution, see also a brief comment on “A People’s Tragedy” – a major classic on the subject – and a short portrait of one of its less known actors, Alexander Kerensky.