‘Did you volunteer?’ Red Army recruitment poster, 1920 © British Library

White Army recruitment poster aimed at ‘muslims and mountain men’ c. 1919 © British Library

Red Army Budenovka cap © Polish Army Museum

‘Retreating, the Whites are burning the crops’, Soviet propaganda poster, c. 1918–20 © British Library

‘A Worker Sweeping Criminals out of the Soviet Land’ collage artwork from Russian Placards 1917–22 © British Library

1902 letter from Vladimir Lenin requesting the use of the Reading Room at the British Museum, signed ‘Jacob Richter’ © British Library

1st Edition of The Communist Manifesto, London, 1848 © British Library

Novyi Satirikon (New Satiricon) April 1917 cover featuring a caricature of Grigorii Rasputin © British Library

Lenin’s Memorial Book, Moscow, 1924 (detail) © British Library

Front cover of 1st Russian edition of Doctor Zhivago, 1959. Private Collection

Marking the 100th anniversary of the world-changing events of 1917, Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths, shines new light on the experiences of ordinary Russians living through extraordinary times, as well as the life and times of key figures from Lenin to the Romanovs. It tells the story of the Revolution through posters, letters, photographs, banners, weapons, items of uniform, recordings and film: from a luxury souvenir album of the Tsar’s coronation to propaganda wallpaper hand-painted by women factory workers. Beginning in the reign of the last Tsar, it explores the growth of revolutionary movements and colossal social and political change that transformed Russia’s traditional monarchy into the world’s first Communist state.

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The exhibition is accompanied by a varied season of events exploring how the Revolution changed the world forever, and the impact on Russian literature, architecture, music and artistic expression.


Katya Rogatchevskaia is Lead Curator, East European Collections at the British Library, lead curator of Russian Revolution, and editor of the accompanying book. She is also Chair of the Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services.

Susan Reed is Lead Curator, Germanic Studies at the British Library, where she has worked since 1993, co-curator of Russian Revolution, and a regular contributor to the library’s European Studies blog.


Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths
28 April to 29 August 2017
British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
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