Lessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917

© RIA Novosti / Lev to Ivanovata in fotoreceptori paintings OctoberLessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917© RIA Novosti / Lev to Ivanovata the image Bank

The great October socialist revolution of 1917 not only radically changed the life of Russia, but also gave the world the universal values as the right of Nations to self-determination, social justice and the welfare state, said the scientists, speaking at a joint meeting of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Russian historical society.

Today, the building of the RAS Presidium hosted a meeting of representatives of the Russian historical society and the leading scientists of the Academy of Sciences, where historians and experts in the field of culture and literature told of how the Russian scientific establishment was preparing for a meeting of the century, the October revolution, or, as suggested to call the meeting, the great Russian revolution.

«Now it’s safe to say that the time has come for a detailed analysis of the historical heritage of the October revolution, and, in the language of dialectics, the synthesis of a new idea than it was for Russia and the world as a whole», — said Alexander Sergeyev, the newly elected President of the RAS.

According to him, over time in the country in a fundamentally new situation. As noted academician, «in recent years the government’s attitude to the revolution significantly changed. Now it does not impose official interpretations, which is very important for science. Scientists can freely discuss and Express their own ideas about these events.»

Agreed Sergei Naryshkin, Chairman of the Russian historical society and head of the foreign intelligence Service, noting that a century passed from the time of the October revolution, is «the minimum amount of time that must elapse in order for historians to impartially evaluate a large-scale historical events».

According to him, the radical change of socio-political order in recent years substantially changed the opinion of historians on the revolution that helps to reveal many unexpected facets of this epochal cataclysm. The juxtaposition of old and new relation to the events of 1917, as Director of the SVR, has led to major changes of ideas about how they impact on Russia and what they actually were.

«We came to the conclusion that revolution is considered as a multistage process consisting of a series of interrelated events, including the February revolution, the abdication of Nicholas II, the creation of the first Soviets, the October revolution, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and the Civil war. In other words, the revolution affected not one in 1917, and the whole period between 1917 and 1922, and we found many Parallels between the Russian revolution and the great French revolution of 1789-1799,» — said Naryshkin.

Do not forget the representatives of the «white movement» who migrated to Europe after the October revolution, they, as noted by the Director of the SVR, was introduced to the West with the best samples of Russian art and culture that was exotic for their residents.

The great Russian revolution, added another participant in the meeting, academician Anatoly Torkunov, rector of MGIMO University and a historian of international relations, seriously changed the political landscape of the world, adding new concepts and phenomena.

Revolutionary ideas

«All great revolutions, including ours, transformed the systems of international relations at the time. On the one hand, this feature is usually attributed to «big wars» that occurred during the transition from one system to another, — the Thirty years war in the XVII century, the Napoleonic wars in the late XVIII century, the First world war of XX century», — says Anatoly Torkunov.

As a result of these military conflicts sharply changed the balance of power and relationship powers, disappeared and reappeared of the state. On the other hand, as the academic can’t ignore the fact that these «great wars» were almost always accompanied by revolutions in those countries, which was one of the parties to these conflicts.

«For example, the overthrow of Charles I and the revolution of the XVII century in Britain occurred against the backdrop of the Thirty years war and the French revolution directly caused a series of wars in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which gradually covered the whole of Europe. Naturally, this coincidence was not accidental,» — continues scientist.

How does this relationship, historians of the institutes still do not know, but the academician suggests that it can be explained by the fact that revolution, unlike wars, are changing not just the balance of forces and the mechanism of interaction between States, the international legal order. For example, the revolution in England introduced the concept of «state sovereignty,» independent of the Church, and the founding fathers of the United States created the idea of «national state.»

«The French revolutionaries arrogated to themselves the right to intervene in the Affairs of other States for the liberation of the masses from oppression, and after the Napoleonic wars, this «innovation» began to use the monarchy under the pretext of struggle against the revolution. The failed revolution of 1848 in Germany and the Habsburg Empire for the first time raised the question of the right of peoples to self-determination», — says Anatoly Torkunov.

Our revolution, according to the academician, influenced international relations in two ways, both from the point of view of balance of power, and from the point of view of the evolution of international law. For a long time it was unclear which side — the winners or the losers — consider themselves Soviet Russia.

«In the end, the Soviet government expressed its strong rejection of those principles of a peaceful settlement, which were laid in the Versailles system, and embarked on the path of its audit, that is almost completely ruled out the possibility of cooperation with most Western countries, except with Weimar Germany,» — continues scientist.

End of story

Even more controversial was the legal «heritage» of the revolution. After coming to power, as explained by the scientist, the Bolsheviks tried to use democratic principles in foreign policy, based on the concept of «peace without annexations and indemnities.» At the same time they declared that these laws can be implemented in practice only after the World revolution, the creation of a world Soviet Republic. With such ideas, according to Torkunov, could not agree any state, and the tactics of the use of secret diplomacy and the Comintern gave rise to distrust and hostility to the Soviet Union.

Only after the proclamation of the principle of «peaceful coexistence,» the Soviet Union was able to achieve major foreign policy successes, including the first non-aggression pacts and mutual assistance signed by the USSR, Czechoslovakia and France. Lessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917© RIA Novosti / Cooperate in fotobanka and hunger as «a sensation» revolution

Many foreign-policy footprints of October, as noted Torkunov, it is possible to see in the world today. The events of 1917 in Russia was the fuse, and almost all national liberation movements that have helped dozens of countries in Asia and Africa to get rid of colonial rule and allowed them to become full members of the international community. Modern multipolar world, according to the rector of MGIMO, exists largely due to the October revolution.

© RIA Novosti / Alexei Codecoverage in fotoannunci a demonstration and rally the Communist party in Moscow, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the great October socialist revolutionLessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917© RIA Novosti / Alexei Codecoverage in fotoannunci a demonstration and rally the Communist party in Moscow, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the great October socialist revolution

«The principles of social justice and the restructuring of society that occurred during the revolution, today has affected virtually all countries of the world. Helped the introduction of so-called «social state,» the Russian revolution has tempered the appetite of capitalism» — said the scientist.

The study of international consequences of the October, as noted Torkunov, especially important today, as the world entered the era of strategic instability associated with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Disappeared alternative values and an alternative power center, which served as an example and guide to the countries of the West, which gave rise to a false sense of security and led to the erosion of the principles on which works the current system of international relations.Lessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917© Infografiken organized a revolution, or Lenin’s April theses

This interest, in particular due to one common feature of «old» Bolshevik and the modern liberal-democratic ideas that the first Soviet government, and later American President Woodrow Wilson. We are talking about the right of peoples to self-determination, which today are increasingly in conflict with the principle of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders enshrined in the Helsinki accords of 1975 and in UN documents.

«The twentieth century is often called the «age of revolutions», and if we can’t resolve this contradiction, the current century is in danger of becoming not «a century of evolution», as we had hoped, and will repeat the fate of its predecessor», says the academician.

«Land and freedom»

Similarly, as explained by Yuri Petrov, Director of the Institute of Russian history, the changes that happened in Russia before and after the revolution, is now increasingly discussed in an international context, from the point of view of how the Russian Empire was trying to adapt to new global economic realities and of an accelerated industrialization.

«People often say that the revolution occurred due to the fact that the Russian economy could not stand the hardships of the First world war, but our research shows that this is not so. Per capita GDP and living standards in Germany and other Central powers fell more than in the Russian Empire, however, the revolution came much later, after the war. We believe that the October revolution was the consequence of the failure of the ruling elite in dealing with the crisis of development and the unwillingness of States to meet the challenges of the time», — said the scientist.Lessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917© RIA to Novoshepelychi in photobacteria of the Russian Federation to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the October revolution

Many other supporters of «alternative» history as a noted scientist, believe that the revolution was «exported» to Russia by German intelligence, funded the Bolsheviks and other political fringe. How do you think today’s Russian historians, and the February and the October revolution was largely a spontaneous phenomenon, the main participants of which were the masses of the people, not the spies and the «backstage puppeteers».

© RIA to Novoshepelychi in fotobanka rips the emblem of the tsarist government. Petrograd, February 1917Lessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917© RIA to Novoshepelychi in fotobanka rips the emblem of the tsarist government. Petrograd, February 1917

«The idea that Lenin and Trotsky were «puppets» of the Kaiser’s intelligence is a myth and nonsense, devaluing a national tragedy that our country has experienced, replacing it with a cheap farce. As the analysis of documents, Germany has invested more money in their spies in her Union, Romania and Italy, who tried to hold Bucharest and Rome from the exit of the war, not to Lenin and his allies,» — said the scientist.

In any case, according to the historian, the secret of the victory of the Bolsheviks was not «German money», if they played a major role in sponsoring the movement, and that their ideas are best reflected the aspirations of the masses and were ready to implement them.Lessons of October: historians have learned about the Russian revolution of 1917© RIA to Novoshepelychi in photobacteria revolution through the eyes of witnesses

«In August 1917, the country faced a choice — or a military dictatorship of Kornilov, or the coming to power of the radical left, headed by the Bolsheviks. The traditional idea of «land and freedom» and a new idea about «peace without annexations and indemnities,» was in line with the wishes of the peasants, who formed the basis of the army of the Russian Empire. Due to the lack of civil society and the collapse of the government the fate of Russia was decided by the masses,» explains Petrov.

In General, the events of 1917, according to the academician revealed that neither liberalism nor conservatism are unable to gain a foothold in the political practice of Russia, which predetermined the further development of the state and made the Soviet Union and Russia what they are today.