Russia

One hundred years ago, the Russia Revolution rocked the world, first with the overthrow of the Tsar in February and then with the Bolshevik-led taking of full power by the soviets (elected councils of workers, soldiers and peasants) in October.

The year 1917 offered an extraordinary course in political literacy for the people of Russia.

In the February anti-Tsarist revolution, which “dispensed breakneck with a half millennium of autocratic rule”, and then in the October socialist revolution, eager workers and peasants stumbled over and then mastered a new way to speak of economic and political democracy, writes China Mieville in October, his narrative of the Russian Revolution.

Gay men in the Chechen Republic are being kidnapped and detained in torture camps as part of the government’s attempt to “purge” the country of homosexuality.

Chechnya is currently ruled by the wealthy war criminal Ramzan Kadyrov, who has the backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Russia’s "gay propaganda laws", which criminalise the dissemination of information about LGBTQI issues, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Chechnya’s deeply homophobic culture. 

One hundred years ago, on May 7, 1917, the following declaration appeared on the front page of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda under the title, “Draft of a mandate for use in electing delegates to the Soviet of Worker and Soldier Deputies”. 

This “mandate” marked the first appearance of the slogan “All power to the Soviets” in an official party statement.

The Soviets emerged out of the February Revolution that year, which succeeded in overthrowing the Tsar. The Soviets were based on elected delegates of workers, soldiers and peasants.

During last year’s presidential election campaign, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump favoured a more militarised foreign policy. They differed on the main target: Clinton aimed at Russia, while Trump singled out China.

Clinton wanted to continue the policy of both Republican and Democratic administrations since the collapse of the Soviet Union of steadily expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders in Europe. She also proposed challenging Russia in Syria.

In light of the latest extreme attacks on the LGBTIQ+ community in Chechnya, Russia, which United Nations human rights experts have called “unprecedented”, English group Left Unity released the following statement on April 14.

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Caught In The Revolution: Petrograd 1917
Helen Rappaport
Windmill Books, 2017
430 pages

In 1916-17, millions of starving Russian workers queued for hours for scarce bread, perished on the eastern front or were left unemployed in a country where the living conditions were as atrocious as the record winter cold.

One hundred years ago, on March 27, 1917 the Petrograd Soviet issued the following appeal, “To the Peoples of the World,” calling for a restoration of workers’ unity in the cause of peace: "....We call upon you to throw off the yoke of your semi-autocratic order just as the Russian people shook off tsarist despotism. You should refuse to serve as a weapon of invasion and violence in the hands of kings, gentry landowners, and bankers.

"Together in friendship we will put a stop to the terrible slaughter, which disgraces humankind and casts a shadow over the great days of the birth of Russian freedom...."

On Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can find an interview with leading ecosocialist voice Daniel Tanuro as well as articles looking at the ongoing fallout of the Brexit vote and the origins of arguably the most famous slogan in revolutionary history: "All power to the Soviets!"

One hundred years ago, on March 14, 1917, the Social Democratic Interdistrict Committee (Mezhrayonka), supported by the Petersburg Committee of Socialist Revolutionaries, issued the following appeal to soldiers to elect representative committees all along the chain of command, for officers to treat soldiers respectfully and asserted the Soviet's primary influence over soldiers by stating that they should obey only Duma commands that did not contradict Soviet resolutions.

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