Gaidar Forum Experts Discussed 1917 Russian Revolution Lessons

Within the framework of Day 1 of Gaidar Forum Russian and foreign historians discussed up-to-date approaches to assessing October Revolution results. The discussion was timed to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the crucial event.

One of the discussion moderators was Carol Scott Leonard, Professor of Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration and Oxford University. According to her, there was a wide range of opinions concerning historical heritage of 1917 Russian Revolution in the western and Russian historiography of the 1980-1990s. Carol Scott Leonard characterized the present discussion as a unique opportunity to exchange opinions without regard to historical speculations. In particular, she mentioned the version of planned and manipulative nature of the revolution, which was popular both in the West and in Russia.

The second moderator, Yuri Petrov, Director of the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences, emphasized the importance of creating a single historiographical space. “While in the Soviet Period Russian historians mainly criticized Western ones and vice versa, not perceiving them as equal partners, nowadays the situation has changed”, said Yuri Petrov, highlighting the importance of equal dialogue in the atmosphere of mutual respect. According to the Director of RAS Institute of Russian History, a significant achievement of scientific events devoted to the anniversary of this period in Russian history was the transition from ‘economic dictation’ while explaining revolution causes towards a more complex scientific approach. Yuri Petrov assessed continuing distribution of unscientific conspiracy variants of covering revolutionary events mainly in the mass culture in a negative way.

In her speech Elena Panina, Deputy of the State Duma, reminded of the President’s order on arranging a number of scientific public events devoted to the anniversary of 1917 Russian revolution. Having expressed her disagreement with conspiracy theories, the State Duma Deputy urged ‘not to disregard some external aspects’. At the same time, Elena Panina called the creation of the world’s first social state, which laid the foundation for economic standards generally accepted in Western culture, a positive achievement of the socialist revolution.

The organizers include the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute) and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The program outline is available at the forum website.

Participation is free; preliminary registration is required.

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