Passés Futurs - Revue - Number 5
Legacies of 1917

In 1927, as exhibitions toured the world to spread the good news, nearly 1000 foreign delegates were invited to Moscow for the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution. This was to allow the Soviets to show that the USSR was not alone, and that its international legitimacy exceeded the specter of its diplomatic relations. Where do we stand today? What are we to make of “1917”? Analyses of centenary commemorations in Russia, the United States, Ukraine, and West European countries raise the question of whether this event, once laden with universal significance, has become a historical phenomenon like any other, rooted in a specific time and place. The situation in Latin America arguably nuances this diagnosis, but the question remains of the meanings 1917 may contain for the present day. Still, as the writer Davide Orecchio observed in interview, October is no doubt only one revolution among many others: “That which got the upper hand. That which took power, then became a myth and ideology, a party and state technique”.