Skip Content

Ending the Russian Revolution: Reflections on Soviet History and its Interpreters

Elie Kedourie Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick, on 8 April 2008.

'Ending the revolution', meaning essentially how to stop the Terror, is a familiar problem in discussion of the French Revolution. In the case of the Russian Revolution, it is less familiar but equally intriguing. Ending the revolution is a problem for revolutionaries, who need to find a way of effecting the transition from political and social upheaval to a more settled state without losing revolutionary credibility. It is also a problem for historians, whose decisions about when to end the narrative of revolution are bound up with their interpretations of its historical significance. In the aftermath of the Cold War and the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, these two problems are the starting point for reflection on the long, politically-charged debate on the meaning of the Russian Revolution and the course of Soviet history.

Speaker: Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick, Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor, The University of Chicago. Professor Fitzpatrick is a historian of modern Russia (the Soviet Union). Her recent work has focused on Soviet social and cultural history in the Stalin period, particularly everyday practices. Her current research deals mainly with social and cultural change in Russia in the 1950s and 1960s.

More about the Elie Kedourie Memorial Lectures