1917 and the Consequences

1917 and the Consequences

Sigmund Neumann Institute; Academia Baltica; Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung; University of Southern Denmark
Vom - Bis
24.11.2017 - 26.11.2017
Url der Konferenzwebsite
Joanna Schou McIntyre, Sønderborg

The international conference “1917 and the Consequences”, organized by the Sigmund Neumann Institute and the University of Southern Denmark, and supported by the Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung, aimed at bringing together scholars from various European universities and examine national reactions and interpretations of the 1917 Russian Revolutions in an interdisciplinary context. The research presented at the conference offers a glimpse of how interconnected and interdependent various countries and regions became as a result of the Russian Revolutions, and provided theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding the political and historical developments of the 20th century.

After welcoming the participants to Sankelmark, KATARZYNA STOKLOSA (Sønderborg) introduced the theme of the Conference “1917 and the Consequences”, emphasizing how the many interpretations of the Russian Revolutions are influenced by geography as well as by how directly each region was politically affected by the events. The conference’s keynote speaker, ERIK KULAVIG (Odense), added that a certain Soviet mentality, or maybe even civilization was created, in Russia, in the aftermath of 1917, and that it wasn’t ideology nor politics, but rather how to survive in extraordinary circumstances that was decisive in the creation of this culture.

The conference’s first panel “The Echo of the Revolution in the Baltic Sea Region” focused on post-1917 developments and interpretations in Denmark, Latvia and Finland. THOMAS WEGENER FRIIS (Odense) investigated “Danish Perceptions of the 1917 Revolution” and how geopolitical changes all around Denmark influenced both sides of the political spectrum and their perceptions of the 1917 Revolution. BENJAMIN CONRAD (Berlin) presented research exploring the Latvian perspectives and impacts of the 1917 Revolution, focusing on, and comparing two periods, namely the Inter-War-Period and the period after 1991. The analysis revealed that problems of recent history replaced 1917 in later political debate. GERHARD BESIER (Dresden) analyzed the case of German intervention in the Finnish Civil War 1917/18, which was considered controversial not only in the Nordic countries, but in Berlin as well. The German Empire would not tolerate a Socialist Soviet Republic at its borders, and preferred to establish a buffer zone consisting of the newly independent Russian Baltic provinces.

LINA KLYMENKO (Joensuu) opened the second panel of the conference, “Effects at the Western Borders of the Russian Realm”, with her research on the connections between collective remembrance and national identity in Ukraine, based on the mythologized Battle of Kruty. BERNHARD BACHINGER (Graz) followed with his speech on “Austrian Perceptions of the 1917 Revolution” and emphasized how the fear of a Munich in Vienna influenced the Social Democrats to pass various social policies.

JEREMY SMITH (Joensuu) investigated the “Reception of the 1917 Revolution in Central Asia”, finding that regional anti-Russian uprisings overshadowed the October Revolution and that to this day ambivalent attitudes towards 1917 are present in Central Asia. This research was presented in the conference’s third panel focusing on “The Resonance afar from Petrograd”. During this panel, special attention was also paid to the countries of Spain and Argentina. MAXIMILIANO FUENTES CODERA (Girona) presented the main elements of the overall impact of the Russian Revolution in Spain. From a comparative perspective, Fuentes Codera also focused on key elements shared by Spain and Argentina in regard to the impact of the Russian Revolution.

During the fourth and final panel of the conference, STEFAN TROEBST (Leipzig) analyzed the significance of public holidays in the Russian Federation in relation to the regime’s political agenda. In the case of Russia, this has been evident in first the abolishment of imperial tsarist holidays and later in the modifications and innovations of Soviet holidays. JAN RUZICKA (Aberystwyth) followed a more abstract framework for analysis and discussed the paradoxical nature of the relationship between revolution and security. Ruzicka argued that the reconstruction of the notions of security is necessary to a revolution’s survival but can have detrimental effects. The case of the Russian Revolution can be used to gain further understanding of the concept of security.

The conference came to its conclusion in Sønderborg, Denmark, after an excursion lead by MARTIN KLATT (Sønderborg). The 1917 Revolution did not have an immediate impact on the Danish-German border region; nevertheless, it triggered events which ultimately resulted in North Schleswig’s reunification with Denmark.

Conference Overview:


Christian Pletzing (Akademie Sankelmark)
Thomas Wegener Friis (University of Southern Denmark, Odense)
Steen Bo Frandsen (University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg)

Introduction to the Topic

Katarzyna Stoklosa (University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg)

Keynote Address

Erik Kulavig (University of Southern Denmark, Odense): Cultural Explanations of the Russian Revolution and its Implications for the History of Everyday Life 1917-1953

Panel I “The Echo of the Revolution in the Baltic Sea Region”
Chair: Steen Bo Frandsen (University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg)

Thomas Wegener Friis (University of Southern Denmark, Odense): Danish Perceptions of the 1917 Revolution

Benjamin Conrad (Humboldt University of Berlin): Perceptions of the 1917 Revolution in the Baltic States

Gerhard Besier (Dresden University of Technology): Whites and Reds in Finland and the German Intervention

Panel II “Effects at the Western Borders of the Russian Realm”
Chair: Tobias Haimin Wun-Sung (University of Southern Denmark, Odense)

Lina Klymenko (University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu): The Meaning of the Battle of Kruty of 1918 for the Current Ukrainian Nation-Building Policy

Bernhard Bachinger (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences, Graz): Austrian Perceptions of the 1917 Revolution

Panel III “The Resonance afar from Petrograd”
Chair: Martin Klatt (University of Southern Denmark, Odense)

Jeremy Smith (University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu): Reception of the 1917 Revolution in Central Asia

Maximiliano Fuentes Codera (University of Girona): 1917, a Turning Point: Great War, Russian Revolutions and Social and Political Crisis in Spain (and a Glance at Argentina)

Panel IV “The aftermath of the Revolution”
Chair: Vincent Keating (University of Southern Denmark, Odense)

Stefan Troebst (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe/Leipzig University): November 7 in Post-Soviet Politics of History

Jan Ruzicka (Aberystwyth University): Securing the Revolution in a Dangerous World

Excursion in the Danish-German Border Region

Martin Klatt (University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg): War, Revolution and Plebicite: Bordering the Danish-German Border Zone

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