Approaches to 1917: 100 years of Russian revolution

Presentation of the exhibition 1917: Revolution. Russia and Europe at the German Historical Museum, followed by discussion

with Kristiane Janeke (Curator), Andrei Zavadski (Free University Berlin), Jan C. Behrends (Centre for Contemporary Research Potsdam)
Chair: Gwendolyn Sasse (ZOiS)

Völkerfreundschaft, Stepan M. Karpow (1890–1929), Sowjetunion, 1923/24 © Staatliches Museum für Zeitgenössische Geschichte, Moskau

This year’s centenary of Russia’s October Revolution marks the anniversary of one of the most significant twentieth-century events in world history. More than twenty-five years after the collapse of socialism in Europe, ‘Red October’ seems more than ever to belong to the past. At the same time, the consequences of revolution, civil war, and the founding of the Soviet Union remain tangible to this day, not least in current conflicts. How should this topic be dealt with today? Curator Kristiane Janeke presents possible approaches with the help of the ongoing exhibition 1917: Revolution. Russia and Europe at the German Historical Museum. Andrei Zavadski will discuss what role the memory of 1917 plays in the politics of memory and museum management in Russia today. On the panel they will be joined by historian Jan C. Behrends to talk about political and historical differences in approaches to 1917. ZOiS director Gwendolyn Sasse will moderate.

Jan C. Behrends is a research associate and project leader at the Centre for Contemporary Research in Potsdam. He researches the modern history of Eastern Europe with a particular focus on urban history and violence. In February 2017 he co-published the volume 100 years of Red October: The world history of the Russian Revolution.

Kristiane Janeke is a historian and curator. She has worked in museums for many years, including as the director of the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst. She curated the exhibition 1917: Revolution. Russia and Europe for the German Historical Museum.

Andrei Zavadski is a researcher in the Emmy Noether research group on The medialisation of (semi-)authoritarian rule at the Free University of Berlin. His additional research interests include the culture of memory in Russian museums. In June 2017 he organised the conference ‘Public History in Russia: Museums for the Past or the Past for Museums?’ in the Garage Museum for Contemporary Art in Moscow.