100 years since the Russian Revolution

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks

Was the Russian Revolution a "good" thing?

Да!
5
45%
Нет!
6
55%
 
Total votes: 11

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby *fun and open field* » 07 Nov 2017, 13:32

Robert wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:The music was great! None of that decadent western tripe!


Funny enough, music was a subject I used to raise a lot over diners & drinks. Most people my age had not missed anything about the Beatles & Stones and what came after them. Tapes were popular but also records they used to produce from paint can tins.


And they translated the titles, put them on the cover in the same font!

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Robert » 07 Nov 2017, 13:43

The Modernist wrote:
Robert wrote:
Yes that exactly. I remember travelling there just after perestroika when people were complaining about having more choices now in what to eat, which countries to travel to and so on, but being unable to make those choices because of lack of money. As you say work and wages were there for everyone and lots of things were free during communism, like schools and medical care.

That said, in today's Russia you don't hear those complaints anymore and Putin is very, very popular.



Scarily popular. It's more like a North Korea style personality cult. Even when you meet Russians living in London, they won't hear a word against him.
And part of Putin's success is that he's embraced the past and specifically the patriotic image of Russia as this great, powerful nation. So although his market economics represent a discontinuity, he presents himself as a figure of continuity. All very different from what Gorbachev had in mind for a modern Russia.


Yes that's what I mean, we are looking from the outside to it but Russians understand Putin and given his popularity, he understands his people too.
What we see as outrageous in Putin is logical to most Russians.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Robert » 07 Nov 2017, 13:44

Carla Breakthrough-Lark wrote:
Robert wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:The music was great! None of that decadent western tripe!


Funny enough, music was a subject I used to raise a lot over diners & drinks. Most people my age had not missed anything about the Beatles & Stones and what came after them. Tapes were popular but also records they used to produce from paint can tins.


And they translated the titles, put them on the cover in the same font!

Image


In a surprise move, they abstained from calling the band ' DA"

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Toby » 07 Nov 2017, 13:49

Carla Breakthrough-Lark wrote:Oh, you get that all the time in the old Eastern Bloc countries.

As G says, there are solid arguments for it being a better time. I lost count of the times students said things like 'well we all had work and we had our books and we had our beer'. It's true.

How much actual oppression there was varies from country to country, and some decades were worse than others. Growing up in 70s Romania must have been rotten. But Czechoslovakia and Hungary in the 60s was as good as it got.


Of course. There was stability to a certain extent. But remember that the Soviet Union unravelled and Eastern Europe too because of the economic system. There was no question of it being sustained and the Berlin Wall was just the gentle nudge that made the thing collapse.

This is Eastern Europe though, which was significantly different to the Soviet Union in the 20s and 30s and China in the late 50s.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby The Modernist » 07 Nov 2017, 14:10

The tragedy was in electing Yeltsin, a corrupt guy who was happy to carve up Russia's huge mineral wealth among a tiny elite of plutocrats. Had a genuine progressive like Gorbachev managed to retain power during the transition, we might have had a much different Russia today.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Robert » 07 Nov 2017, 16:16

The Modernist wrote:The tragedy was in electing Yeltsin, a corrupt guy who was happy to carve up Russia's huge mineral wealth among a tiny elite of plutocrats. Had a genuine progressive like Gorbachev managed to retain power during the transition, we might have had a much different Russia today.


Gorbachev was too civilised and reasonable to be the strong man the Russians want their president to be. In many ways, Russians aren't very different from a Trump voting red neck.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Geezee » 07 Nov 2017, 16:29

Robert wrote:
Toby wrote:Was the Russian Revolution a "good" thing?

I've left the options simple purely because I like a good argument.

I'd say definitely no for the Russians themselves. Stalin, Famine, Gulags, the Cheka, invaded by Germany purely because they were Bolsheviks etc. I don't know how many dead but I'm pretty sure that the numbers are so much higher than if Russia remained Tsarist. Definitely not for the Ukrainians or the Poles either. Maybe yes for contemporary China as a state in some respects because it is now a fully mobilised command economy that is the manufacturing hub of the world. But how much of that is socialism over the millennium old culture of the Chinese is difficult to say.

Anyway, your thoughts on what was arguably the epochal event of the 20th century.


The question reminds me of a story that Branson tells in his autobio. Many years ago, I guess in the nineties he was visiting China. One of the appointments he had was with one of these vast think tanks they have. There were hundreds of people there studying any bloody thing that ever happened on earth. Branson met with a guy specialized in France and he asked the man in charge what he thought of the French revolution. The guy answered: 'that's way too early to tell'


Well, that's a pretty famous quote of Zhou Enlai to Nixon, but anyway (although itself apparently based on a mistranslation/misunderstanding). ;)
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Geezee » 07 Nov 2017, 16:34

Carla Breakthrough-Lark wrote:There’s hardship and there’s mass murder.

I think there’s a tendency to romanticise these events (not saying anyone here is guilty of this) - the imagery, the idea of a people rising up and reclaiming what was theirs - but the Russian Revolution resulted in decades of appalling devastation.


Toby wrote:There is increasing evidence too that Tsarist Russia was in its last years entering a modernisation phase.



I think there's also a tendency to forget or undermine how awful the Tsarists were - and indeed I don't believe there is any evidence that Tsar Nicholas II was overseeing anything like a "modernisation phase" - quite the opposite, the country was going backward, hence the building up of revolutionary protest - which of course was not Bolshevik in nature at all to begin with, but was rather led by I guess what one term a liberal/parliamentary democrat (Kerensky). So if you define the Russian Revolution as the break between Kerensky and Communism, it is probably correct to say it was a bad thing (although Kerensky himself was pretty severely corrupt in some of the immediate aftermath of the first revolution in respect of the Kornilov affair). If you define the Revolution as the break between Tsarist Russia and Communist USSR (with a little blip in between), then I don't think it's either a good or a bad thing - it's a pure continuation of persecution, incompetence and repression.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Geezee » 07 Nov 2017, 16:37

Toby wrote:
Carla Breakthrough-Lark wrote:Oh, you get that all the time in the old Eastern Bloc countries.

As G says, there are solid arguments for it being a better time. I lost count of the times students said things like 'well we all had work and we had our books and we had our beer'. It's true.

How much actual oppression there was varies from country to country, and some decades were worse than others. Growing up in 70s Romania must have been rotten. But Czechoslovakia and Hungary in the 60s was as good as it got.


Of course.


Except for that little invasion of Czechoslovakia.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Diamond Dog » 07 Nov 2017, 16:38

Geezee wrote:I think there's also a tendency to forget or undermine how awful the Tsarists were - and indeed I don't believe there is any evidence that Tsar Nicholas II was overseeing anything like a "modernisation phase" - quite the opposite, the country was going backward,


Well, quite.

Whilst he was ordering three or four hugely expensive Faberge eggs for his wife every year, the country was going to hell in a handcart.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby *fun and open field* » 07 Nov 2017, 16:47

Geezee wrote:
Toby wrote:
Carla Breakthrough-Lark wrote:Oh, you get that all the time in the old Eastern Bloc countries.

As G says, there are solid arguments for it being a better time. I lost count of the times students said things like 'well we all had work and we had our books and we had our beer'. It's true.

How much actual oppression there was varies from country to country, and some decades were worse than others. Growing up in 70s Romania must have been rotten. But Czechoslovakia and Hungary in the 60s was as good as it got.


Of course.


Except for that little invasion of Czechoslovakia.


68. Then came 'normalisation'. So they had eight years.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Count Machuki » 07 Nov 2017, 17:12

fange wrote:
Toby wrote:Who's the secret communist?


Count Machukin.


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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Nov 2017, 17:13

:o
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Harvey K-Tel » 07 Nov 2017, 17:20

Russians need a style revolution is what they need.
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Robert » 07 Nov 2017, 18:56

Geezee wrote:
Robert wrote:
Toby wrote:Was the Russian Revolution a "good" thing?

I've left the options simple purely because I like a good argument.

I'd say definitely no for the Russians themselves. Stalin, Famine, Gulags, the Cheka, invaded by Germany purely because they were Bolsheviks etc. I don't know how many dead but I'm pretty sure that the numbers are so much higher than if Russia remained Tsarist. Definitely not for the Ukrainians or the Poles either. Maybe yes for contemporary China as a state in some respects because it is now a fully mobilised command economy that is the manufacturing hub of the world. But how much of that is socialism over the millennium old culture of the Chinese is difficult to say.

Anyway, your thoughts on what was arguably the epochal event of the 20th century.


The question reminds me of a story that Branson tells in his autobio. Many years ago, I guess in the nineties he was visiting China. One of the appointments he had was with one of these vast think tanks they have. There were hundreds of people there studying any bloody thing that ever happened on earth. Branson met with a guy specialized in France and he asked the man in charge what he thought of the French revolution. The guy answered: 'that's way too early to tell'


Well, that's a pretty famous quote of Zhou Enlai to Nixon, but anyway (although itself apparently based on a mistranslation/misunderstanding). ;)


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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Copehead » 07 Nov 2017, 22:24

Toby wrote:I don't doubt that a significant number of people died in the industrialisation of the western world.

:)

I suppose it depends how you define significant; Stalinists and Tories probably have a bit in common there. ;)

The process has been brutal worldwide, Russia's looks worse than most but the argument is we are talking timescale, same with China's Great Leap Forward, god knows how many millions died in that.

We killed our millions at a more sedate rate so it looks less horrific.

It is a plausible defendable case, but I haven't the time to research it properly, but I thought I would drop it in as it is thought provoking

But the idea that Britain's industrialization wasn't equally state driven is a little naïve, it wasn't a natural process that just happened.

They just didn't have a blueprint like the Russians did to allow them to accomplish it in a generation
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby fange » 08 Nov 2017, 00:26

Count Machuki wrote:
fange wrote:
Toby wrote:Who's the secret communist?


Count Machukin.


I am a socialist and not a supporter of state capitalism as practiced by the USSR.


Then why have you been spotted several times going in and out of the BCB-KGB headquarters, hmm? Just getting some papers stamped?
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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Toby » 08 Nov 2017, 10:06

Copehead wrote:

But the idea that Britain's industrialization wasn't equally state driven is a little naïve, it wasn't a natural process that just happened.

They just didn't have a blueprint like the Russians did to allow them to accomplish it in a generation


It wasn't state driven in the same manner as Russia or China because it was happening all around them and they weren't aware of being "industrialised" or "modernised".

We are aware obviously of the fact that we are in the middle of an even more significant information technology revolution, and there are by-products and causes of what is happening that we can only react to. Most changes in societies and culture are essentially by-products rather than being enacted through planning.

My point is that through planning the Soviets and the Chinese murdered tens of millions of people. Their deaths were not a by-product; they were liquidated for a reason.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Toby » 08 Nov 2017, 10:09

Diamond Dog wrote:
Geezee wrote:I think there's also a tendency to forget or undermine how awful the Tsarists were - and indeed I don't believe there is any evidence that Tsar Nicholas II was overseeing anything like a "modernisation phase" - quite the opposite, the country was going backward,


Well, quite.

Whilst he was ordering three or four hugely expensive Faberge eggs for his wife every year, the country was going to hell in a handcart.


http://www.historytoday.com/reviews/emp ... ist-russia


Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia
Dominic Lieven
Allen Lane 448pp £25

Histories of Russia’s involvement in the First World War have long turned on the question of whether 1914 caused, hastened or even delayed the Russian Revolution. Dominic Lieven’s masterly Towards the Flame uses a different lens to examine the decade before the July Crisis, not as a crucial staging ground in the origins of the Russian Revolution but rather as part of the history of empire in an age of nationalism and mass politics. Instead of approaching the autocracy as an ideological anachronism, economically more backward and politically more unstable than the other Great Powers, Lieven presents a ‘modern’ empire, which shared its rivals fundamental strengths and weaknesses.

Russia entered the First World War for reasons of ‘security, interest and identity’. Security meant an attempt to bolster the existing balance of power against the perceived threat of German expansionism; interest meant Russia’s desire for predominance in the Balkans and control over the Straits of Constantinople; and identity meant a defence of Russia’s status as a Great Power and the leader of the Slavs. Such fundamental considerations also impelled policy-making in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Britain and France in the run up to war.

‘In 1914, it was possible’, Lieven argues, ‘to envisage either a brilliant or a catastrophic future for Russia’ but that future depended on tsarism’s ability to negotiate a stable path to modernisation without falling prey either to its Great Power rivals abroad or its revolutionary demons at home. At the centre of Lieven’s story are ‘the conflicts between empires and nationalisms in east-central Europe’. The Russian and the Austro-Hungarian empires were both in relative decline over the 19th century. Industrialisation, urbanisation and the spread of literacy were all fomenting incendiary forms of nationalism that were corroding the legitimacy of the ruling houses and threatening to disrupt the European balance of power. These problems were much harder to resolve than Anglo-German commercial and naval competition. Yet if the weakening of central dynastic hierarchies was, Lieven suggests, an inevitability; their sudden and bloody implosion in the crucible of the First World War was not.

Towards the Flame examines the tectonic shifts in the evolution of European empires but also plunges into an intimate, sometimes claustrophobic world of palaces, ministerial offices and diplomatic missions. In St Petersburg foreign policy in the years and months before August 1914 was conducted ‘in secret by the monarch and handful of individuals whom he appointed’. Lieven demonstrates how the fate of Europe, indeed of the world, in 1914 depended not simply on the iron laws of historical inevitability but on the personalities and (mis-)judgments of individuals with all their idiosyncrasies and frailties.

But while Lieven emphasises how this unaccountable and opaque decision-making contributed to a dangerous form of brinksmanship, he also makes plain that the drumbeat for war could be heard far beyond the corridors of power. All of Europe’s dynastic empires were now struggling to conduct traditional diplomatic policy in a new era of mass politics, in which public opinion was a powerful and often vociferous force to be reckoned with. Liberals and nationalists in Russia were demanding that the emperor come to the defence of fellow Orthodox Slavs in the face of Austrian aggression.

Lieven’s pages are populated by diplomats and ministers, who struggled to mask their government’s weaknesses and to press their own advantage while attempting to placate public opinion and avert a war that almost all understood Russia was not prepared to fight. The most prescient prediction of what a conflict would mean for the Russian Empire came in a memorandum penned by the conservative statesmen Pyotr Durnovo in 1914. Durnovo saw that a prolonged war with the axis powers, regardless of whether won or lost, would only hasten the onset of a revolutionary cataclysm. Yet many Russian policy-makers also felt that after a decade of military defeats and diplomatic climbdowns, Russia had no choice but to mobilise against the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914 in defence of Serbia if it was to maintain its position as a Great Power. The greatest pessimists were, of course, proved right.

Towards the Flame is a finely-wrought and compelling account of Russia’s final decade of peacetime before a continuum of war and revolution that stretched well into the 1920s, and arguably beyond. It is the story of a disaster, which, while it loomed ever larger on the horizon, was never an inevitability.

Daniel Beer is Senior Lecturer in History at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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Re: 100 years since the Russian Revolution

Postby Diamond Dog » 08 Nov 2017, 10:14

In which way do you think that negates my assertion re the Tsar fiddling with his Faberge eggs whilst St Petersburg burned?
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