In the Russian Revolution of 1917, workers took control of a major country for the first time in history. To millions throughout the world, the Russian workers’ state offered new hope. People everywhere turned from the grim alternatives of a declining capitalism -- unemployment, poverty, the threat of new wars--to place their hopes in the government that the soviets, councils of working people, put into power in Russia. And for a short time, their hopes were realized. Never before had such sweeping changes in society been carried out in so short a time.
But only a few years later, ideologues were holding up Russia as another example of how revolution only leads to dictatorship. The essays in this book describe the triumph and defeat of the Russian Revolution. They show that Stalin’s dictatorship was not the inevitable outcome of the revolution, but a reversal of everything the revolution stood for.
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