Futurity

100 years after Russian Revolution, communism’s impact lingers

A new book traces how the Soviet Union changed the world. "In theory, it was a massive attempt to make the world a better place," says Joshua Tucker.

One hundred years ago, the Russian Revolution overthrew the Russian Empire, ending nearly two centuries of monarchic rule.

You might remember from history class that the shake-up came in two parts: The February Revolution (March on the Gregorian calendar) forced Czar Nicholas II to abdicate his throne, and then the October Revolution (November on the Gregorian calendar) led to the Russian Civil War, from which Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks emerged victorious.

Crucially, it was the triumph of the Red Army in the Russian Civil War that laid the foundation for the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922. And although the USSR would dissolve within nearly 70 years, the state and its citizens produced numerous scientific and cultural touchstones—the Sputnik 1 satellite, the novel Doctor Zhivago, and the video game sensation Tetris, to name a few.

It also was engaged in a Cold War with the democratic West that shaped global politics for half a century. So great was the Soviet Union’s outsize impact over the course of its brief life that its downfall led to debate over what to expect in a world without it.

In 1989, political scientist Francis Fukuyama predicted that “the passing of Marxism-Leninism first from China and then from the Soviet Union will mean its death as a living ideology of world historical significance.”

Was he right? Did communism die with the Soviet Union? In a new book, Communism’s Shadow, (Princeton University Press, 2017) Joshua Tucker, politics professor at New York University, suggests that communist thought continues to have a real impact today.

Tucker recently talked about communism’s legacy and how the Soviet Union changed the world:

The post 100 years after Russian Revolution, communism’s impact lingers appeared first on Futurity.

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