Diary

Sheila Fitzpatrick

It’s almost time to celebrate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, but there are few real celebrants left, in Russia at least. For most Russians, Stalin the nation-builder is part of the usable past, but Lenin cuts less ice, and the Bolshevik Revolution is an outright embarrassment. No doubt it won’t be possible to ignore the centenary altogether, as Putin might like. A few years ago he declared that 1917 remembrance should take the form of ‘deep, objective, professional evaluation’, noting that at the same time the event might be downgraded from a ‘revolution’ to a more pedestrian ‘overturn’ (perevorot). In Ukraine, Poroshenko thinks the occasion should be marked, but only for the ‘grim lesson’ to be learned from it.

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