Russia: Anatomy of a revolution gets lost in a fog of detail

Russia: Anatomy of a revolution gets lost in a fog of detail
Vladimir Lenin: pious rhetoric Pic: Getty

Why did a movement that had such noble intentions end up replacing one tyranny with another?

History: Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890-1928, By SA Smith, Oxford University Press, €30

Vladimir Lenin once claimed that the Russian Revolution “does not need historians”. The Bolsheviks’ rise to power in 1917 was such a glorious achievement, he implied, that there was no point in picking through the messy details of how it actually happened. Some people still seem to agree, with the Irish Socialist Party recently hailing Lenin’s overthrow of...

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