Pushkin House is delighted to announce the launch of a collaborative, web-based project  giving users a unique way to experience the human drama of the year leading up to October Revolution of 1917.  Partnering with Project1917 in Russia, we will be bringing you translations from Project1917’s ambitious exploration of the thoughts and deeds of a remarkable group of people whose lives were caught up in fateful events of that year.  Drawing on primary sources, some previously unpublished, Project1917 provides daily postings on social media of selected writings by some 300 historical figures as they witnessed and participated in the making of history.

 Poet and writer, Ivan Bunin

 Poet and writer, Ivan Bunin

Grigori Rasputin 'The Black Monk' 

Grigori Rasputin 'The Black Monk' 

Listen in and learn about the everyday life of the Tsar’s family, or the plot to murder Rasputin.  Track over the year the postings of poets such as Blok, Tsvetaeva and Mayakovsky, painter Malevich, or of revolutionaries Lenin, Kropotkin and Krupskaya, members of the Provisional Government, and many others. To make Project1917 more accessible for English speakers, Pushkin House will be posting regular translations throughout the year, some of which will be appearing in English for the first time.

Project1917 provides an immersive, multimedia experience of the lead up to the October Russian Revolution.  The atmosphere of the time is evoked through a kaleidoscope of sources, most of them primary:  diaries and letters as well as photographs, newspaper articles, poems, film and paintings.  Users looking for help piecing together the broader narrative will also find a series of useful charts and diagrams created by the Project1917 team.  While those fancying an encounter with Russia’s most notorious monk may visit the Rasputin chatbot on our joint Facebook page. Ask the Black Monk any question you like, and receive one of his famously cryptic and grammatically dubious responses.

Project1917 is led by journalist, writer and historian Mikhail Zygar, author of the recently-published All the Kremlin’s Men and former Chief Executive of Television Channel Dozhd. Zygar has assembled a group of 40 young historians (students, researchers, journalists) to carry out archival research to find evocative and original material relating to this pivotal moment in world history.

Project1917 commenced in November this year in Moscow and will run until January 2018. An English-language page www.project1917.com will be launched in early 2017, with a party at Pushkin House to mark the occasion, date to be confirmed.

Throughout 2017, Pushkin House will be holding a series of events in connection with Project1917: lectures, film screenings, exhibitions and performances: programme to be announced.

Tsar Nicholas the II with three of the Grand Duchesses

Tsar Nicholas the II with three of the Grand Duchesses

Pushkin House Director Clem Cecil says: “we are delighted to be partnering up on this important project. We fully support the values and aims of Project1917 – to make the primary sources of 100 years ago available, without editorial intervention or spin. Zygar has assembled a fantastic group of young historians and researchers in Russia. It cannot be overstated how important the events of 100 years ago were: the lead up to the revolution, and the revolution itself, profoundly affected the course of world history. This is a playful, yet serious way to become immersed in those events.”

Project 1917 Director Mikhail Zygar says: ''The purpose of the project was to use social media not as service but as generator of art. To revolutionize the way of learning and teaching history. We consider it to be "educa-ment" - a mix of education and entertainment aimed at a much broader audience. You can watch it as a TV show day by day waiting for something new and interesting to happen to your new friends who lived one hundred years ago 1917 is the highest peak of Russian culture and civil society. It is the best and the most tragic moment of Russian history.''

Pushkin House Co-Chair Craig Kennedy says: “The consequences of 1917 still shape our world today, no more so than in Russia.  And yet public awareness of what happened and why it matters has been fading, notably among younger Russians.  Enter the Project1917 team.  They have fashioned a creative, ground-breaking approach to history that both enlightens and delights and can help rekindle our interest the meaning of this fateful year.  We are excited at Pushkin House to help make this important initiative more accessible to a broader audience.”

Find out more:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/1917freehistory/?fref=ts

English language website to launch January: www.project1917.com

Russian website: www.project1917.ru