The Centennial of the October Revolution and the Politics of History

  • Milan Subotić Institute of European Studies, Belgrade
Keywords:
The October Revolution, Russia, politics of history, collective memory

Abstract

This paper analyses the relation of Russian political elite and public towards the commemoration of the October Revolution centennial. By reminding us about the commemoration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989, the author has shown the differences in the way those two historical events, that have crucially marked the long XIX century and the short XX century of European and World history, have been memorialized. Considering that commemorative practices and selectiveness in a representation of the past is decidedly influenced by current politics, the author used the centre part of his text to interpret the relations of the post-Soviet political elites towards the October Revolution. Through the usage of "politics of history" concept the author interprets the process of change of the anniversary of the Revolution from the "foundation myth" of the Soviet era, first into the "Day of Reconciliation and Accord" after 1991 and then, since 2005, into a "Day of a National Unity" to be celebrated on November 4, and not even as a non-working day. During the rule of Vladimir Putin, the October Revolution ceased to be the useful symbolical resource in constituting the Russian historical self-consciousness and desirable system of societal values. Since it is incompatible with the ideals of "statehood", values of social stability and the emphasis of the millennial historical continuity, the jubilee of the October Revolution in today's Russia is primarily marked as a reminder on the dangers of social conflict. Politics of history, based on the ideals of unity in face of foreign enemies and internal danger of "coloured revolutions", is founded on the conservative ideology that naturally tends to marginalize the Revolution in the collective memory.

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Published
2018-07-31
Section
Scientific Articles