Specter of 1917

An Interview with Anne Applebaum

The 100th anniversary of the October Revolution is upon us. Given the outsize role Russia under Putin has continued to play in our geopolitical life, it is important to consider the roots of the country’s socialist revolution and its long-term outcomes — one of which, argues Anne Applebaum, was Putin himself. She should know: she wrote a major English-language history of the feared Soviet prison system, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. Here, she discusses the end of the Empire, the short-lived provisional government, and the motivations and tactics of Lenin, Trotsky, and their fellow insurgents.

Octavian Report: What are the intellectual and sociopolitical roots of revolutionary socialism in Russia? How do they bear fruit in the October Revolution?

Anne Applebaum: There was a long tradition of revolutionary and non-revolutionary socialist ideas in Russia, with socialist movements dating …

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