Marx held that the progression of society from capitalism to communism was 'historically inevitable'. In Russia in 1917, it seemed that Marx's theory was being born out in reality. But was the Russian Revolution really inevitable? This collection of fourteen contributions from the world's leading Russian scholars attempts to answer the question by looking back at the key turning points of the revolution. From the Russo-Japanese conflict of 1904-5 through to the appropriation of church property in 1922, and focusing especially on the incredible chain of events in 1917 leading to the October Revolution itself, Historically Inevitable? is a forensic account of Russia's road to revolution.
Each contribution gives not only a fast-paced, incisive narrative account of an individual aspect of Revolution but also, for the first time, an intriguing counter-factual analysis of what might have gone differently. Featuring Richard Pipes on the Kornilov affair, Orlando Figes on the October Revolution, Dominic Lieven on foreign intervention and Martin Sixsmith on the attempted assassination of Lenin in 1918, Historically Inevitable? explains how each of these moments, more through blind luck than any historical inevitability, led to the creation of the world's first communist state. Tony Brenton's afterword to the volume draws parallels between the Revolution and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and places the events of 1917 in the context of more recent events in Russia and the Crimea.
Featuring contributions from:
Donald Crawford - Sean McMeekin - Dominic Lieven - Orlando Figes - Richard Sakwa - Douglas Smith - Martin Sixsmith - Simon Dixon - Boris Kolonitsky - Richard Pipes - Edvard Radzinsky - Catriona Kelly - Erik Landis - Evan Mawdsley