A Centenary of 1917 Revolutions and the Russian Historiography (Review article)

M. M. Mints, ‘Stoletie revoliutsii 1917 goda i rossiiskaia istoricheskaia nauka (Obzor)’, in Rossievedenie: v poiskakh utrachennogo vremeni [Russian studies: In search for the lost time], ed. by I. I. Glebova (Moscow, 2019), 180–209.

Download the full text (PDF, in Russian).

The review article deals with the Russian monographs and collections of articles published in 2017 and timed to the centenary of the Russian revolutions of 1917.  These works cover quite a wide range of subjects including the institutional dimension of the revolution (constitutional law, history of politics, local governance), history of political leadership, revolutionary process in the province, role of the army and the navy in the events under review, etc.

As a whole, Russian research papers devoted to the anniversary of the 1917 revolutions make mixed impressions.  On the one hand, it is obvious that the investigation of the issues mentioned above is going on, the historians use new methodological approaches and new sources that have only recently become available.  New subjects are coming under review which were understudied or not studied at all in Soviet years.  On the other hand, many works are purely descriptive, without any real analysis.  Some authors replace such an analysis with blaming the Russian liberals for the collapse of the empire or even with conspiracy theories (the revolution as an anti-government plot).  Most of the works analysed in the article only deal with certain aspects of the history of the revolution, an overall study of those events remains a matter for the future.