A couple days ago marked the hundred year anniversary of the so-called October Revolution (so-called because at the time, the Russian calendar was about two weeks behind the Western one). The Provisional Government, formed after the abdication of Nicholas II in the spring, was overthrown. Lenin was the man. Which is to say, in short, it was the birth of what would become–after a devastating civil war– the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Союз Советских Социалистических Республик).
As an aside for grammarians and students of Russian language, can you imagine having genitive plural as part of the name of your country?
It may seem a little strange that I didn’t manage to muse publicly about the Reformation but do have the time and energy to write about the Russian Revolution. But, in truth, it’s not strange at all because of who I am as a person.
I follow a page on Facebook that has been posting quotations and informational stuff all year in memory of the anniversary (it’s called Project1917 if you’re interested). The past couple days they’ve also been doing faux news reports, especially as fighting broke out in Petrograd and the Soviets began taking over the city (note: soviet just means council). I find it so incredible (and also impossible) to imagine being present for all those momentous happenings.
I don’t have any profound historical insights, nor contemporary philosophizing. I just think it’s important to remember these unimaginably important moments in history. Though the Great Man/Great Moment theory of history is mostly a nonstarter for me, this gets pretty close. A lot of it came down to a few people seizing a short space of time and radically altering the history of the entire world forever. I could write a million counterfactuals around the idea of no revolution.
Today’s topic in my upper-level class was nuclear (non)proliferation. It was cool to have a relatively mature conversation about the pros and cons of different arguments. I also got to talk about the Cold War and some Soviet history which was nice.
I haven’t talked all that much about Russia on this blog, mostly because I’ve been doing other things. But I remain deeply interested in it as a country, culture, language, and just…place, you know? I have no idea how it might happen, but I would totally be okay with ending up in Russia next year. I would love to go back–and to see new places.
Not much else happened this week. Glad I didn’t have to endure another Bonfire Night in Stoneybatter because all that black smoke and burned mattresses were not doing it for me. It’s almost the end of week 11 which means only two more weeks left in term.
And then it’s my last term.