Regional Revolution(s) – 1917 and its Consequences in the Province

„Senatssaal“ in the Main Building (Hauptgebäude) of Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Ludwigstrasse 23, 35390 Gießen
Gießener Zentrum östliches Europa, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
09.11.2017 - 10.11.2017
Thomas Bohn, Birte Kohtz

The Revolutions of 1917 represent a deep cleavage in Russian as well as European and Global history. The February Revolution put an end to the Russian Empire while the October Revolution marked the beginning of a new civilization with a unique culture and social-political order. These Revolutions envisioned the building of a new society that would in turn produce a New Man, even if terror and violence were necessary to this end. From outside, the October Revolution was seen as laying the foundations for a new world order. This applied to the radiant power the revolutionary order displayed as early as the 1920s and 1930s and even more so after the end of the Second World War, when it divided the globe into two spheres of influence. On the inside, revolutionary events ran up against the reality of the multiethnic character of the former Empire, a state marked by its great geographical reach as well as its social and economic diversity.

Research on the Revolutions of 1917 has focused for a long time on St. Petersburg and Moscow. Only since the 1990’s has the Revolution in the Province attracted a sizeable research following. The year 1917 can no longer be viewed as a single year of revolution, discreet and isolated, but must be seen as a part or phase in a prolonged process of change. By looking beyond the former imperial centers, perspectives conditioned to see one, or at most two, revolutions can be broadened, and the image of a myriad of shocks presents itself for consideration. With these considerations foremost, the Giessen Center for Eastern Europe (GiZo), with the support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, brings together scientists from the partner universities Minsk, Kazan and Kiev to discuss the fundamental issues of 1917 and the Revolution in the Province.


November 9th, 2017

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm Welcome and Introduction
Thomas Bohn (Giessen)/Svetlana Malysheva (Kazan’): Revolution at the Imperial Centers – questions from a German/Russian perspective

2:30 pm –- 4:30 pm Panel 1: Preconditions and Presumptions
Chair: Alla Salnikova (Kazan’)
Natalia Shlikhta (Kiev): The 1917 Break and its Aftermath: Estimates by Western and Ukrainian Historians
Pavel Tereshkovich (Minsk): Was Belarus’ ready for revolution in 1917? (in Russian)
Olena Betlii (Kiev): The Reaction of Russian Nationalists in Kiev to the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 (in Russian)
Commentator: Veniamin Kosmach (Vitebsk)

Break for Coffee
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Panel 2: Regional Alltag- and Mass Culture after 1917
Chair: Thomas Bohn (Giessen)
Svetlana Malysheva (Kazan’): The Formation of Soviet holiday culture between center and periphery (in Russian)
Andrej Czernakiewicz (Grodno): The Temptation of Liberty: Two Models for the Sovietization of Grodno (in Russian)
Mark Berman (Giessen): Everyday Life in Soviet Minsk 1921-1928
Commentator: Bianka Pietrow-Ennker (Konstanz)

November 10th, 2017

9:00 am – 11:00 am Panel 3: Revolution in the Vielvölkerreich: Ethnic and National Dimensions
Chair: Birte Kohtz (Moscow/Giessen)
Vitaliy Skalskyy (Kiev): What is this “Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921?” (in Russian)
Dimitri Tolkatsch (Freiburg): Revolution without Ideology and War without Frontlines - the Ukrainian Village, 1917-21
Alla Ehrlich (Hannover): Diverging Timelines in respect to the Russian Revolution 1917-1921 and the Crimean Tatars (in Russian)
Iskander Gilyazov (Kazan’): Volga Tatars and the Russian Revolutions of 1917. Expectations and Realities (in Russian)
Commentator: Klaus Heller (Fürth/Giessen)

Break for Coffee

11:30 am – 1:00 pm Panel 4: Science and Scientific Culture in the Province after 1917
Chair: Svetlana Malysheva (Kazan’)
Alla Salnikova (Kazan’): New Goals, New Symbols, New Myths: Revolutionary changes at Provincial Universities (in Russian)
Birte Kohtz (Moskau/Giessen): To Discipline and Build up. Provincial Psychiatry and Central Power after 1917
Tobias Haberkorn (Giessen): Emancipation instead of Revolution. Local museums in the 1920s
Commentator: Martin Aust (Bonn)

Break for Lunch

3:00 pm –- 4.00 pm Concluding Discussion
Alla Salnikova (Kazan’)/Birte Kohtz (Moskau/Giessen): Revolutions on the Periphery – insights from Belarus, Tatarstan and the Ukraine


Prof. Dr. Thomas Bohn

Justus-Liebig-Universität, Historisches Institut
Otto-Behaghel-Str. 10 D, D-35394 Gießen

Regional Revolution(s) – 1917 and its Consequences in the Province, 09.11.2017 – 10.11.2017 Gießen, in: H-Soz-Kult, 23.06.2017, <>.
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