Russia, 1905: the Forgotten Revolution

  • Moira Donald
Part of the Themes in Focus book series (TIF)


In 1988 the eminent American historian of Russia, Abraham Ascher, published the first volume of a two-volume history of the Russian Revolution of 1905. In the introduction he observed that: ‘The individuals who participated in the mass movements of 1905 did not believe that they were merely preparing the way for the real event at some future date. They were trying to bring about far-reaching changes there and then.’1 Ascher’s work was published almost on the eve of the momentous events which were to lead to the collapse of Soviet power in the third great revolution experienced in twentieth-century Russia. As Ascher rightly pointed out in his history of the 1905 Revolution, until the publication of his own work there was no comprehensive scholarly account of 1905 in English and few Western historians had chosen to make 1905 their field of study in contrast to the multitude of monographs and journal articles on the 1917 revolutions. Soviet interest in the events of 1905 had always been high, but was inevitably coloured by Lenin’s declaration in Left-wing Communism that 1905 had been the dress rehearsal for 1917. East or West, in the decades following the Bolshevik Revolution it seemed impossible to escape this view. Until, that is, the events of 1989–91 stopped the historical trajectory as abruptly as it had begun.


General Strike Russian Revolution Political Game Soviet Power Bolshevik Revolution 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    A. Ascher, The Revolution of 1905. Russia in Disarray (Stanford, 1988), p. 6.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    L. Ia. Gurevich, ‘Narodnoe dvizhenie v Peterburge 9-go ianvaria 1905g.’ Byloe 1 (1906), pp. 200–229, cited in Ascher, Revolution of 1905, p. 101.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    E. D. Chermenskii, Burzhuaziia i tsarizm v pervoi russkoi revoliutsii, 2nd edn, Moscow, 1970), p. 58, cited in Ascher, Revolution of 1905, p. 112.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    O. Figes, A People’s Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891–1924 (London, 1996), p. 189.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    M. Perrie, ‘The Russian Peasant Movement of 1905–07: its Social Composition and Revolutionary Significance’, in B. Eklof and S. P. Frank (eds), The World of the Russian Peasant: Post-Emancipation Culture and Society (London, 1990), pp. 193–218 (p. 199).Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    K. C. Chorley, Armies and the Art of Revolution, p. 20, cited in P. Calvert, Revolution (London, 1970), p. 98.Google Scholar
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    K. Kautsky, Die Soziale Revolution (Berlin, 1902) p. 58.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    I. Deutscher, ‘The Russian Revolution’, New Cambridge Modern History, 2nd edn, vol. 12 (Cambridge, 1968), p. 403, cited in T. Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions (Cambridge, 1979), p. 95.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    C. Brinton, The Anatomy of Revolution (London, 1953), pp. 16–17.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    J. Baechler, Revolution (Paris, 1970) (trans. J. Vickers, Oxford, 1975), pp. 24, 32.Google Scholar
  11. 26.
    L. Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution, trans. M. Eastman, vol. 1 (New York, 1967), pp. 87–8, reprinted in K. Kumar, Revolution. The Theory and Practice of a European Idea (London, 1971), p. 356.Google Scholar
  12. 29.
    E. H. Carr, A History of Soviet Russia, vol. 1, The Bolshevik Revolution (London, 1960), p. 25, cited in Kumar, Revolution, p. 68.Google Scholar

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© Moira Donald 2001

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  • Moira Donald

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