2017 is the centenary of the Russian Revolution, and has seen numerous exhibitions and events commemorating this extraordinary period in history.
“The Russian Revolution stretched from February to October 1917 (Julian calendar), and it was one of the most significant events of the 20th century. The overthrow of the Czarist (i.e., imperial) regime in February and the chaos that followed set the stage for the Bolshevik uprising in October. The result was the creation of the world’s first communist state based on workers’ and soldiers’ councils (soviets), a geographically sizable state initially dedicated to Marx’s vision of social justice, and a society without classes and private property, which in theory would lead to full human emancipation. The creation of a communist state in a hostile capitalist world set the stage for later developments, especially the rise of anti-communist fascism in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s, the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the beginning of German genocidal warfare in World War II, and the U.S.-led Cold War against the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1991.” (taken from Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice on Credo Reference via the London Met library catalogue)
Art and design initially flourished with creativity and new found freedom before being repressed by the regime. The Royal Academy exhibition earlier this year chartered the artistic achievements, while the current exhibition at the British Library explores the politics and characters of the period through rare documents and artifacts.
Our own TUC (Trades Union Congress) collection (housed in Special Collections) has produced an exhibition The Russian Revolution and its Impact on the Left in Britain, 1917-1926 using material from the TUC collection, and Jeff Howarth (TUC librarian) was a speaker at the conference ‘Must Britan Travel the Moscow Road?’, as part of the British Library exhibition.
Aldgate library has put together a display of related Russian Revolution books from its collection, from art, design and architecture of the period to the politics surrounding it.