Ideational Preconditions to the Success of the October Revolution

  • Simon Malmenvall University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Theology
Keywords: October Revolution, ideational history, Russian Orthodox Church, Georges Florovsky, Nikolai Berdyaev

Abstract

This article aims to analyse some ideational preconditions, traced back to the preceding periods of Russian history, which enabled the success of the October Revolution in 1917. Firstly, the article deals with the views of Georges Florovsky (1893–1979), Russian theologian, philosopher and historian. Florovsky argues that Russian thought had been ‘in captivity’ ever since the 16th century, a captivity imposed by Western influences. Among the foreign influences, it is the German idealist philosophy that is perceived by Florovsky as the most detrimental, for it paved the way for various utopian projects, including the Bolshevik revolution. Secondly, the article examines the notions of the Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948). From Berdyaev’s point of view, the victory of Bolshevism resulted from Russia’s lack of a free secular intellectual- philosophical tradition, which was thwarted by the authoritarian state. As a consequence, Bolshevik ideology interpreted the original Marxism in conceptually closed terms. The present paper argues that the views of Florovsky and Berdyaev are acceptable yet partial. This is because they are concerned with generally interpreting the formation of the intellectual environment which favoured the victory of Bolshevism on Russian soil, without considering the complexity of Russian politics and society at the turn of the 19th century.

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Published
2018-06-13
How to Cite
Malmenvall, S. (2018). Ideational Preconditions to the Success of the October Revolution. Monitor ISH, 20(1), 51-68. https://doi.org/10.33700/1580-7118.20.1.51-68(2018)
Section
Original scientific article