Russian Revolution of 1917
French Revolution, American Revolution, Xinhai Chinese Revolution
The Russian Revolution refers to a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, the
overthrow of Tsarist autocracy and the creation of the Soviet Union.
The Russian Revolution (March 1917) was a spontaneous popular revolution focused around St
Petersburg. The members of the Duma assumed control of the country, forming the Russian
The Russian Revolution in October (October Revolution), the Bolshevik party, led by
Vladimir Lenin, and the workers' Soviets, overthrew the Provisional Government in
Petrograd. They appointed themselves as leaders of various government ministries and
seized control of the countryside.
War, State Collapse, Redistribution: Russian Revolution Revisited - Osinsky, Pavel
Abstract: Most historical narratives of the Bolshevik Revolution prioritize the role of an
ideologically driven transformative agency (e.g., the working class, the intelligentsia,
the party, Lenin, Stalin and so forth). In contrast to these accounts my study places a
primary emphasis on a low institutional capacity and lack of foresight of a power
incumbent (i.e., the Provisional Government). The Russian Provisional Government lacked
power and failed to implement the policies which were implemented in other countries
placed under similar (or even worse) conditions. Instead of the conventional model of
socialism by design I suggest a model of socialism by default.
Rethinking the Significance of Workers' Control in the Russian Revolution
Carmen J. Sirianni, Northeastern University, Boston
Economic and Industrial Democracy, Vol. 6, No. 1, 65-91 (1985)
Drawing upon recent Western and Soviet research, this paper reevaluates workers' control
during and after the Russian Revolution. The old dichotomies of anarchic organization from
below and authoritarian centralization from above are much too simplistic to capture the
complex dynamic that characterized the movement and the tasks of institution-building.
Workers' control, while hardly ideal, displayed many very positive characteristics of
organization, co-ordination, discipline, maintaining production, as well as democratic
control, representation, bargaining and dignity. In addition, although the conditions of
revolution and civil war limited democratic possibilities, the potential of workers'
control for medium-term development were considerably greater than recognized by Bolshevik
ideology, and presented one element in a realistic nonStalinist industrialization strategy
in the 1920s and beyond.
The Passionate Legal Debates of the Early Years of the Russian Revolution
Michael Head, University of Western Sydney - Campbelltown Campus
Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 14, No. 1, January 2001
Abstract: The Russian Revolution of October 1917 marked the first large-scale attempt to
fundamentally reorganize economic, social and legal life along egalitarian lines. In
relation to legal theory and practice, the revolution launched the boldest experiment of
the 20th century, accompanied by passionate, free-ranging and scholarly debates. Lenin's
government initially sought to fashion a radically new approach to the state, law and
legal theory, with some striking results in the fields such as criminal and family law.
Moreover, it attempted to create the conditions for the ultimate fading away
("withering away") of law and the state. These achievements offer insights for
the future, notwithstanding the subsequent degeneration under Stalin.
The Russian revolution of 1905 and the Chinese intellectuals - James D. White
Published in: journal Sibirica: Journal of Siberian Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2 October
Abstract: The article examines the reception of the Russian revolutionary movement and the
revolution of 1905 by Chinese reformers and revolutionaries. It reveals how events in
Russia were refracted through the imperatives of the Chinese political situation and used
to support indigenous political attitudes. It also brings to light relationships between
Russian, Chinese and Japanese history which are not apparent when these countries are
The fiscal background of the Russian revolution - Gregory M. Dempster
European Review of Economic History, 2006, vol. 10, issue 01, pages 35-50
Abstract: This article examines important aspects of the interaction between the fiscal
history and political events of tsarist Russia s final years in the light of macroeconomic
theories of government budget constraints.
Can We Write the History of the Russian Revolution? A Belated Response to Eric Hobsbawm
Murphy, Kevin J.
Source: Historical Materialism, Volume 15, Number 2, 2007 , pp. 3-19(17)
Abstract: Ten years ago, Eric Hobsbawm presented his Deutscher Lecture on 'Can We Write
the History of the Russian Revolution?' This essay argues that Hobsbawm articulated a
perspective on the Russian Revolution that was shared by a much wider audience on the Left
after the fall of the Soviet Union and that many of these arguments continue to resonate
today. Placing the contours of the historiographical discussion of the Russian Revolution
within a broader political context, I argue that Hobsbawm has underestimated the extent to
which the standard academic accounts intentionally have marginalised Marxist
interpretations. Hobsbawm's own ambivalence toward the October Revolution and his lack of
clarity on the origins of Stalinism are not supported by the latest empirical research and
concede much ground to strident anti-Marxists. Rather than refuting the Marxist classics,
new evidence from the archives of the former Soviet Union actually offers substantial
support. The renewed academic attacks on the Russian Revolution, including the deliberate
omission of evidence that support the Marxist interpretation, should be challenged rather
than embraced by socialists.
The Russian Revolution and the Communist Party - Alexander Berkman
The October Revolution was not the legitimate offspring of traditional Marxism. Russia but
little resembled a country in which, according to Marx, the concentration of the
means of production and the socialisation of the tools of labor reached the point where
they can no longer be contained within their capitalistic shell. The shell bursts. . .
In Russia, the shell burst unexpectedly. It burst at a stage of low technical
and industrial development, when centralisation of the means of production had made little
progress. Russia was a country with a badly organised system of transportation, with a
weak bourgeoisie and weak proletariat, but with a numerically strong and socially
important peasant population. In short, it was a country in which, apparently, there could
be no talk of irreconcilable antagonism between the grown industrial labor forces and a
fully ripened capitalist system.
But the combination of circumstances in 1917 involved, particularly for Russia, an
exceptional state of affairs which. resulted in the catastrophic breakdown of her whole
industrial system. It was easy for Russia, Lenin justly wrote at the time,
to begin the socialist revolution in the peculiarly unique situation of 1917.
The specially favorable conditions for the beginning of the socialist revolution were:
1. the possibility of blending the slogans of the Social Revolution with the popular
demand for the termination of the imperialistic world war, which had produced great
exhaustion and dissatisfaction among the masses;
2. the possibility of remaining, at least for a certain period after quitting the war,
outside the sphere of influence of the capitalistic European groups that continued the
3. the opportunity to begin, even during the short time of this respite, the work of
internal organisation and to prepare the foundation for revolutionary reconstruction;
4. the exceptionally favorable position of Russia, in case of possible new aggression on
the part of West European imperialism, due to her vast territory and insufficient means of
5. the advantages of such a condition in the event of civil war; and
6. the possibility of almost immediately satisfying the fundamental demands of the
revolutionary peasantry, notwithstanding the fact that the essentially democratic
viewpoint of the agricultural population was entirely different from the socialist program
of the party of the proletariat which seized the reins of government.
Moreover, revolutionary Russia already had the benefit of a great experience the
experience of 1905, when the Tsarist autocracy succeeded in crushing the revolution for
the very reason that the latter strove to be exclusively political and therefore could
neither arouse the peasants nor inspire even a considerable part of the proletariat .
The world war, by exposing the complete bankruptcy of constitutional government, served to
prepare and quicken the greatest movement of the people a movement which, by virtue
of its very essence, could develop only into a social revolution.
Russian Revolution Bibliography:
Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 18911924 (London:
Jonathan Cape, 1996 (reviewed in Pimlico edition, 1997), 923 pp., ISBN
Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), xxiv + 944 (New York, Alfred A. Knopf,
Vladimir N. Brovkin, Behind the Front Lines of the Russian Civil War: Political
Parties and Social Movements in Russia, 19181922 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1994), 455 pp., ISBN 0691032785.
Edward Acton, William G. Rosenberg and Vladimir Iu. Cherniaev, eds., Critical Companion to
the Russian Revolution 19141921 (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University
Press, 1997), 782 pp., ISBN 0340614544.
Ronald Kowalski, The Russian Revolution, 19171921 (London and New York: Routledge,
1997), 269 pp., ISBN 0415124379.
André Liebich. From the Other Shore: Russian Social Democracy after 1921 (Cambridge, MA,
and London: Harvard University Press, 1997), 476 pp., ISBN 0674325176.