Academician Chubaryan: the revolution of 1917 should not be glorified or demonized

Weekly “Arguments and Facts” № 45. Apples in the snow and vegetables also 10/11/2021

Despite the fact that this year is not an anniversary year for October 1917, the revolution is once again at the top of the & shy; discussed topics.

According to opinion polls, the number of our fellow citizens, who believe that the revolution had more positive consequences than negative ones, reached its maximum over the entire period of observations. About why the assessments of the event, which was still relatively recently called a “ national catastrophe '', are changing so much, whether the figures of Lenin and Marx are relevant in modern realities, and whether we need total decommunization, reasoning Scientific Director of the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academician Alexander Chubaryan . & nbsp;

Heroes or antiheroes?

& ndash; Perhaps this will sound immodest, but in such a reassessment of the historical role and consequences of October 1917 there is a definite merit of historians. In the 1990s. Russian society in relation to the October Revolution was extremely negative. Everything Soviet was not simply denied & ndash; was subjected to ridicule, and sometimes curses. And the revolution of October 1917, which, in fact, created the Soviet state, was viewed as something monstrous, bringing only pain, grief and a lot of blood. & Nbsp;

Of course, this approach is unfair. Historians had to do an enormous amount of analytical work, and a certain consensus was reached by the centenary of those events. In the USSR, it was believed that we could have only one revolution – & ndash; Great October Socialist. And what happened in February 1917, & ndash; it is so, something bourgeois, worthless. In the & shy; 1990s. there was a reversal & ndash; no, 'real' the revolution took place in February, and the Bolsheviks & ndash; these are usurpers and dark forces who “ ruined everything. '' We proposed to consider the revolution not as a one-time explosion, but as a process that lasted from 1917 to 1922. The February revolution as the beginning, then October as an important stage & ndash; coming to power of extreme left forces. Then came the Civil War as part of the revolution. After all, it was not clear: the Bolsheviks & ndash; heroes or antiheroes? Now many have understood that the Bolsheviks & ndash; the same participants in this long process, like the others, should neither be glorified nor demonized. Both reds and whites had their own truth. & Nbsp;

& ndash; And yet, Alexander Oganovich, the ideas and slogans of the revolution are now sympathetic to many. Why?

& ndash; This is quite natural. Times are difficult, the situation of a certain part of our society has deteriorated, and a demand for social justice naturally arose, for the search for such a social system in which a person will not be a wolf to a person, but a brother. Of course, older people have a reflex: why search when you can just look back? After all, we kind of had all this. & Nbsp;

Campaign & quot; Bell of Memory & quot; at the memorial “ Wall of Sorrow '' on Sakharov Avenue in Moscow on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression. The organizers of the action are the public organization Memory Fund and the Museum of the History of the GULAG. Photo: RIA Novosti/Grigory Sysoev.

There is no doubt that the revolution gave our country a lot in social terms. The Bolsheviks used slogans that had been put forward for a very long time, and above all – & ndash; the idea of ​​social justice. The masses received it with enthusiasm. The idea that all the poor would become rich, or at least get equal starting rights, was extremely inspiring to people. And inspires now, and will inspire tomorrow & ndash; this is from a series of eternal values.

But human memory has the ability to displace everything bad to the periphery of consciousness. Yes, the revolution has given a lot in social terms. However, those who sympathize with her must understand what she has taken away. And she took millions of lives. And she raised an unprecedented wave of violence. And this is unacceptable & ndash; under any slogans. & nbsp;

What was Lenin like

& ndash; The revolution is inseparable from the figure of Vladimir Lenin. And here again curious numbers appear. According to a survey conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation, 56% of Russian citizens in 2020 considered its role in the history of our country positive. Moreover, among the young people who gave him a positive assessment, there were even more & ndash; 57%.

& ndash; And these numbers are also understandable. Young people who appreciate Lenin in this way & ndash; these are the children and grandchildren of those who are nostalgic for the Soviet past. Naturally, Lenin for them will be a mythical figure, so to speak, “ The Man Who Wanted Good. ''

On the one hand, it is good that society is gradually getting rid of the point of view: “ Lenin & ndash; fiend of hell. '' This point of view is superficial. But the present one, too, when he is again portrayed as a “ good grandfather '', & ndash; also superficial. He was neither one nor the other. Unfortunately, we can write here minus & ndash; young people have a poor idea of ​​who Lenin really was. & nbsp;

& ndash; And who was he?

& ndash; Lenin & ndash; he is a great outstanding politician. Moreover, it is openly extremist. His attempt to implement Marx's ideas on Russian soil was accompanied by open violence against the intelligentsia, the Church, and the persecution of all kinds of other ideas. In addition, in a historical perspective, it still failed. But there is Lenin before the revolution and there is & ndash; after. His latest works & ndash; it is the cry of despair of a man who saw and realized what was happening. The dominance of bureaucracy, bureaucracy, the degeneration of the party … But all his attempts to strengthen democratic principles have led nowhere. This is an iconic and tragic figure in our history. & Nbsp;

& ndash; You say that attempts to implement Marx's ideas have failed. What, then, about the fact that now there is interest in his legacy in the West?

& ndash; To begin with & ndash; interest in Marx never disappeared there. Now he just got stronger & ndash; Marx's theoretical works are not outdated and actually can help to deal with the crisis situation that is observed in the world economy. You could even say that the old Soviet slogan, which many laughed at, is & ndash; “ The teaching of Marx is omnipotent because it is true '' & ndash; somewhat truthful. I would like to emphasize & ndash; in some. His ideas on strengthening the role of the state in the economy are very promising and are well applied in practice.

I was not talking about following Marx & ndash; is to doom yourself to failure. And that in our conditions his ideas of building a new society were implemented on extremely tough, extremely orthodox principles. After all, there was no question of state intervention in the economy. Apart from the state economy and the planned economy, we did not have and did not expect anything at all! After all, Lenin was an extremist not only in politics, but also in economics. The fact that the Soviet economy by the & shy; 1980s. slipped into a crisis, it was the natural result of such an inflexible, orthodox understanding of Marx. & nbsp;

Memory and monuments

& ndash; When the topic of revolution comes up, sooner or later the talking parties remember about re-naming streets, returning them to pre-revolutionary names. 76% are against such a renaming. What do you think?

& ndash; I am against the so-called renaming. And even more so against the demolition of monuments. For me, in this regard, an example of & ndash; Paris. I have always stayed there in a hotel overlooking the monument to Marat and Robespierre . The indiscriminate decommunization that some of our neighbors are demonstrating, I have nothing but objection. In addition, it resembles in its essence the “ war on monuments '' in the USA. The complete absence of any sanity, turning into a mockery of history, is completely & shy; obscene.

Another thing is that in Soviet times, too, there was a rather serious imbalance. In each city there were streets Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Frunze, Sverd & shy; lova, Kalinin , even entire cities were renamed. I understand when there is, for example, Leninsky Prospekt or Ryleeva Street, & ndash; great, let them stay. But a rather meager set of the same names associated with a specific ideology, & ndash; this is an overkill. True, this overkill was largely eliminated 30 years ago & ndash; many cities and streets were given back their historical names. And I believe that nothing needs to be changed further. Of course, it's not good when there were monuments to Lenin in every park or square. But they're not there anymore, right? So let's stop at this. & Nbsp;

Times are difficult, and naturally there was a request to search for such a social structure in which a person will not be a wolf, but a brother. & Nbsp;

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