Happy Anniversary – or when is Wednesday?

Soviet-era propaganda poster On October 25 1917 the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd, beginning the process of Communist control in what would become the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Based on that information alone, most would think that we are currently marking the centennial of the revolution, but. we aren't really. As students of Russian history know, the Tsars followed the Julian calendar while most of Europe followed (and continue to follow) the Gregorian calendar.  The change was evolutionary in nature, ...

The February 1917 Revolution

The February revolution took place from 23 February to 3 March according to the Julian calendar, or 8-16 March according to the Gregorian, or current calendar, in Russia.  Either way, the centennial of this revolution is upon us. This was a spontaneous rising that marked a convergence of factors. Since the revolution took place there have been numerous theories as to what was the most important cause but most can agree on a list of causes: War weariness Poor conditions on ...

Conditions in Russia in January 1917

Weather is really important in history but it isn't always easy to make historical arguments based on the weather.  I mean, winter in Russia can be an exception; after all, it defeated more armies than the ******** (you fill it in, I'm not risking accusations of cultural insensitivity). As January draws to a close it is worth it to consider the conditions in Russia a century ago.  Interestingly, many who study this time period make note of the weather: in Petrograd and ...

December 30: the death of Rasputin and the beginning of the Russian Revolution

December 30th is the centennial of the death of Rasputin.  This is the story that you are most likely to remember from Russian history; years from now  you will be able to recount to your friends the death scene in minute detail, and you will be able to provide all of the salacious details regarding his life and hold over the female members of the aristocracy, but will you remember anything about the historical significance of this man?  And, if ...

Teaching Russia, killing 3 Birds with One Stone and Auld Lang Syne

My last post for the student blog that I finished yesterday, in honor of the centennial of the murder of Rasputin led me to re-examine how to include the Russian Revolutions in the curriculum.  When the World History Topics were 20th century World History Topics, and before Route 1 and Route 2 were ever conceived of, certain topics were taught by most IB History teachers, most notably World War I and the Russian Revolutions.  This was further reinforced by the ...

Wikileaks circa 1917?

The recent dispatch of information on US diplomatic comments and dispatches has our students in a tizzy, and very interested in what has been released about their countries. I for one found it fascinating and then was reminded of one of the original wikileakers - VI Lenin. One of his first acts as head of the Russian government was to publish all of the Allies' secret treaties. The result was much like those for Wikieaks - no one was all that surprised ...