soviet union

  1. To See the Dawn: Women and Communism

    To See the Dawn: Women and Communism

    The protests at Shaheen Bagh (stalled for now, to help contain the spread of COVID-19), were essentially led by women. They were there to challenge not just an illegal legislation, but a world that all but literally keeps them shackled, that tells them their place at home and outside – if allowed to venture there. If you think that you’ve broken free from such a mindset – especially if you aren’t a woman – by virtue of being ‘liberal’, ‘progressive’, or even ‘socialist’, th..
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  2. Story Time in Kerala

    Story Time in Kerala

    On a warm evening in 1972, when I was five years old and living in a village by the sea—Puthenthope in Thiruvananthapuram—I accompanied my cousin to our village library. The librarian gave me a nice smile and took me to the old wooden shelves where the children's books were stacked. As I quickly glanced through them my eyes rested on an oddly shaped book—Vaalameen Chirikkunnu (The Vaala Fish Laughs). The book was the Malayalam translation of a Soviet folktale, fabulously illustrated and pr..
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  3. An excerpt from ‘The End of the Beginning: Lessons of the Soviet Collapse’

    An excerpt from ‘The End of the Beginning: Lessons of the Soviet Collapse’

    Although a distance of more than a quarter-century separates us from that fateful day in December 1991 when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) ceased to exist, understanding of the Soviet collapse remains unsatisfactory and incomplete. The global working class is still reeling from the blows of that two-year period from 1989 to 1991 – when socialism was dismantled from Berlin to Khabarovsk. Yet, we still haven’t fully understood the nature of those blows. Such a situation must b..
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  4. The Revolution of 1917

    The Revolution of 1917

    Today – November 7, 2017 – is the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917. In February of that year, the working class and peasantry – along with the soldiers – overthrew the Tsar’s regime. That October (November in our calendar), led by the Bolshevik party, the workers and peasants completed their social revolution by overthrowing the conciliatory government of the bourgeoisie led by Alexander Kerensky. Lenin, who had returned to Russia from exile, saw that behind Kerensky..
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  5. The Revolution of Ordinary People: Russia, 1917

    The Revolution of Ordinary People: Russia, 1917

    Lenin did not make the Revolution in 1917. Nor did Stalin. Nor Trotsky. They each provided crucial leadership, with Lenin’s role being essential from April 1917 onwards. But they were part of a tidal wave that had first risen in 1905, crested and then rose again during the Great War. This tidal wave was lifted by ordinary people – factory workers, landless peasants, housewives, soldiers, students and those who barely found the means to survive. It is they who made the Revolution happen in ..
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