Lenin & the national question

2:30pm Sunday 19 September

About this session

Lenin and the Bolshevik party which he led took up an uncompromising position of support for the right of self-determination for minorities oppressed by the Russian Empire, the “Prison house of nations.” This position was not without controversy within the Russian socialist movement and internationally, with critics ranging from Rosa Luxemburg on the left and the Mensheviks on the right. More contemporary historians of the Russian Revolution treat the commitment of the Bolsheviks to self-determination as a cynical maneuver calculated to win support before revolution that was swiftly discarded after the October Revolution. This talk will examine both Lenin and the Bolsheviks’ theory of self-determination and its place within revolutionary Marxism, as well as the practice of the Soviet Republic that they led following the October Revolution in 1917.

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