Russia's Revolutions: 1905 & 1917

Vladimir Lenin

This 300-level course examines the causes, events, and effects of the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 in Russia, as well as their legacies in the years since.  Among the questions asked are: was the 1905 Revolution a “dress rehearsal” for the October 1917 revolution, as Lenin later claimed, or an attempt to reform Russia as a democracy? Why did it fail to produce a workable government? Was the 1917 Revolution truly a working-class movement spurred by the forces of history in the manner Marx predicted? How did the Bolsheviks try to revolutionize daily life, rituals, relations between the sexes, and high culture? Did the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ pave the path for Stalinist violence and repression or was Stalinism a deviation from the revolutionary agenda?  And when exactly did the revolution end? It explores not only the views of statesmen, revolutionaries, and other important figures, but also how ordinary people experienced the violence and disorienting shifts of this period.