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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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27 октября 2017

Round Table “The 1917 Russian Revolution for Our Country and the World: 100 Years’ Retrospect”


On 27 October 2017, as part of the Gorbachev Readings project, the Gorbachev Foundation hosted a round table presenting a report themed “The 1917 Russian Revolution for Our Country and the World: 100 Years’ Retrospect”.
The report was written by a team of independent experts invited by the International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (the Gorbachev Foundation): Vasily Zharkov (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences), Andrei Zakharov (Neprikosnovenny Zapas Journal, Russian State University for the Humanities), Andrei Ryabov (the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), the Gorbachev Foundation), and Mark Simon (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences).
Speakers in the discussion included Vadim Mezhuyev (Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences), Andrei Medushevsky (the National Research University – Higher School of Economics), Oleg Zimarin (Ves Mir Publishers), Ilya Zhenin (the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration), and Yemelian Markov (author).
Participants in the discussion also included Irina Chechel (, Arkady Dubnov (independent journalist), Pilar Bonet (El País), Pavel Palazhchenko (the Gorbachev Foundation), and others.
Hosting the round table were Olga Zdravomyslova and Andrei Ryabov
Report “The 1917 Russian Revolution for Our Country and the World: 100 Years’ Retrospect”
Authors: Vasily Zharkov, Andrei Zakharov, Andrei Ryabov, Mark Simon
Edited by Andrei Zakharov, Olga Zdravomyslova, Andrei Ryabov
1. Mixed outcomes and internal conflicts of the 1917 Revolution.
2. Revolution as the emergence of a new political and social Project.
3. Legacy of the 1917 Revolution: Secularization and education.
4. Legacy of the 1917 Revolution: Emancipation and social creativity.
5. Legacy of the 1917 Revolution: Global impact.
6. Revolution as the “assemblage point” for a political course.
In world history, the Russian Revolution is among those few events the role and impact of which not only get conflicting and often diametrically opposing assessments but are also still relevant to struggle between different various political forces and ideologies. And there are good reasons for that. The 1917 Revolution proclaimed the liberation of people from the oppression of autocratic government and inequality as its goal; however, it resulted in the creation of the Soviet totalitarian state which suppressed individual expression and rights and was hostile to the very idea of freedom. Soviet people en masse were granted access to education, modern knowledge, etc., but at the same time any civic initiative was prohibited unless sanctioned from the top, and dissent was severely punished. The impact of the Revolution and the Soviet Project on the world was equally mixed. Once faced with this challenge, the capitalist world started to change – it had to take greater account of the needs and demands of large segments of the population. The example and support of the Soviet Union were a powerful driver for peoples of colonies and semicolonies in their struggle for national and social liberation. However, the Soviet social and economic system ultimately proved uncompetitive – it failed to support a steady social or technological progress and lost a historical competition to global capitalism. Although statement of these clear internal conflicts makes many question the view of the 1917 Russian Revolution as a holistic phenomenon in human history, the goal of comprehending the meaning, consequences, and lessons of this revolution is still very important and relevant. So what was it – a failed, doomed attempt to improve human society or a forward-looking Project which goals and approaches were not fully clear even to its own initiators and leaders? Which historical results and implications of the Russian Revolution still have an impact on today’s Russia and the world, and what was relegated to the past, forever remaining just a legacy of the 20th century? The complexity of these issues for our contemporaries is due not least to the fact that perceptions of the 1917 Russian Revolution both among politicians and the public in general are still strongly influenced by the views that were dominant during the Soviet era. According to these views, the Revolution opened up for Russia unlimited opportunities for development, and a prospect of evolving into a leading global power, radically changing the foundations of human civilization and the course of its further evolution.