The Second Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies (4-6 June 2017) opened on June 4 with a keynote address by Ronald Grigor Suny (University of Michigan) entitled "Lessons of October: The Fate of Democracy and Socialism in the Age of Revolution and Counter-Revolution".
The synopsis: The year 1917 was marked by an euphoria of popular power and democracy, a dream of utopia that soon would devolve into civil war and terror, eventuating in the nightmare of Stalinism. Trotsky wrote his famous essay "Lessons of October" in 1924 in the belief that too little was known about the October Revolution and that other countries needed their own October. We might also consider what October has taught us (and might still teach us today) about the future of democracy and socialism if we begin by seriously appreciating the ambiguous legacy of Soviet "socialism." The question remains: how have we ended up 100 years after October in a global crisis of democracy and socialism?
The conference was financially supported by the European Commission under a Horizon 2020 Twinning project entitled "Building Research Excellence in Russian and East European Studies at the Universities of Tartu, Uppsala and Kent" (UPTAKE). It receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691818. For more information, see: www.tartuconference.ut.ee