The 2016 presidential elections were hardly the first time that Russian actors helped shape events in the United States and other “Western” countries. For the worldwide Left especially, the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 triggered a profound century of influence—inspiration, disillusionment, organization, disintegration—that arguably still shapes the possibilities and the very conceptual categories of transcendence of the capitalist world order. A century later, we asked several historians with different specialties to offer some perspective on the rolling influence of the revolutionary communist events. Writer and activist Suzi Weissman at once underlines the historical breakthrough represented by “profoundly democratic” workers’ councils (or soviets) and the tragedy of their suppression, a setback that had the effect of permanently associating communism with dictatorship and liberal capitalism with democracy. Tony Michels trains his attention on the waves and depths of socialist disillusionment with the Soviet...

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