Russian Revolution Historiography

After reading about the historiography of the Russian Revolution, I realized that choosing one theory to side with about the origins of the Russian revolution was difficult compared to siding with the different theories presented for other revolutions such as the American and French Revolution.  Firstly, the Orthodox Soviet view of the Russian Revolution took a Leninist view.  This means this view endorsed the fundamental idea that good leaders such as Lenin pushed along the revolution and the start of communism.  In contrast with this view, the revisionist view argues that leadership is not what caused communism, but instead the people were radical, therefore supporting radical changes.  Radical people like Lenin were put into power based on popular support, rather than their superior leadership skills.  The traditional Western view argues against the revisionist view and states that communism for Russia was tragedy because it was not what the people wanted.  Instead, leaders like Lenin forced communism upon an unwilling country.  Lastly, the libertarian view is that a want for communism was what the majority of people wanted at first, but leaders like Lenin and Stalin corrupted this ideal idea of communism and turned it into a dictatorship.

Although it is hard for me to take a stance as to how I believe the Russian Revolution started, I think the libertarian view is the most accurate because it combines the ideas of the revisionist view, the orthodox view, and the western view.  Firstly, the libertarian view takes on the revisionist view that radical people wanted radical changes such as communism.  This is supported in one of our readings as it states, “Inspired by Lenin’s slogans, crowds of workers, soldiers, and sailors took to the streets of Petrograd in July to wrest power from the Provisional Government.”  Secondly, the libertarian view supports in the orthodox soviet view in stressing the importance of influential leaders in progressing communism.  Lastly, the libertarian view somewhat supports the western view by agreeing that overtime, communism became a tragedy for Russia because the popular uprisings became a dictatorship.  The orthodox and western ideas are supported in our reading as it states, “State power, far from “withering away” after the revolution as Karl Marx had predicted, instead grew in strength.  Stalin’s personal dictatorship found reflection in the adulation that surrounded him.”  Based the on how the libertarian view combines the other three views on the Russian Revolution, I see this view as the most fitting and accurate.  Although this view makes the most sense to me, what is your stance?  Which view of the revolution is the most accurate in your opinion?

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One Response to Russian Revolution Historiography

  1. Dr. K says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing what others have to say, but I like the way you have specific evidence to back up your points.

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