Russian Revolution

Sun 26 Nov / Quarterhouse

Two great historians look back on the Russian revolution, what caused it, how it evolved, the people who lived through it and its main actors, casting a new light on this extraordinary period.

Helen Rappaport will vividly evoke two contrasting worlds: the end of the Romanov dynasty and the beginning of the revolution. In both cases, her meticulous research through diaries, witnesses’ accounts and letters enables her to take us back to the czar’s court as well as Petrograd and the Russian Revolution.

Victor Sebestyen will tell us about Lenin, the man who loved nature almost as much as he loved making revolution, and whose closest ties and friendships were with women. The long-suppressed story of his ménage à trois with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his mistress and comrade, Inessa Armand, reveals a different character to the coldly one-dimensional figure of legend. In Russia to this day Lenin inspires adulation and continues to fascinate everywhere.

Helen Rappaport is a passionate Victorianist and Russianist, author of 13 books including Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs, Conspirator: Lenin in Exile, Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917 and Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion.

Victor Sebestyen is also the acclaimed author of Twelve Days, Revolution 1956, Revolution 1989 and 1946. He was born in Budapest. He was a child when his family left Hungary as refugees. As a journalist, he reported widely from Eastern Europe when Communism collapsed and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. He covered the wars in former Yugoslavia and the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Chaired by Andrei Ostalski who has lived in the UK for 25 years, working for The Financial Times and then for many years for the BBC World Service, serving as the editor of the BBC Russian Service from 2001 to 2010, when he took early retirement to concentrate on his writing. Andrei broadcasts and writes regularly for the BBC and Radio Liberty, closely following the events in Russia. He is the author of 14, including a comic novel ‘The English Rules’ (published in English) and the spy-thriller 'The Sleeper’s wife’. “The Brief History of Money” and “Oil: Monster and Treasure”, were short-listed for a major Russian book prize ‘Prosvetitel’.

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