Sergey Karpov: "Interpreting events of 1917, political engagement should be avoided"
Today, the international scientific conference titled 'The Centennial of the Russian Revolution of 1917' opened in Lomonosov Moscow State University. The History Faculty of Moscow State University was one of the organizers of the conference. The president of the faculty, historian Sergey Karpov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, shared his vision of the events that happened 100 years ago.
- Do you think that the centennial of the revolution is a memorable date, a point through which we can recall and rethink the events that happened 100 years ago, or that this event can offer the current generation an actual advice?
- First of all, it is a great historical milestone and an occasion to learn from past mistakes. The revolution led to huge tectonic shifts, which were associated with colossal sacrifices on both sides. When we study the experience of the revolution, we must understand why this happened, what forces stood behind it and how to avoid such upheavals. By itself, revolution has one peculiarity: it devours its children, those who organize it. The result of all these processes does not coincide with the original idea. Therefore, it is necessary to study multiple layers of these events, all their complexity, and try to explain them non-opportunistically, without political bias.
- Is it possible?
- It is difficult, because every generation has its own social experience. The social experience of the present generation differs from those, which the generation of a decade ago had. This is a natural process. But there should always be a desire for objectivity, because if a person does not know how to learn from past mistakes, he will make them in the future. Therefore, historians should warn people about which mistakes can be avoided.
- Has the national issue played a role in the revolutionary events?
- Yes, but it was not decisive. The national issue has deteriorated already during the civil war. That is when it acquired a full-fledged sound. The events in Turkestan in 1916 was an episode, but the events that took place after the February Revolution in Ukraine, Belarus, the Caucasus, elsewhere, were engendered by profound social contradictions. The contradictions, in turn, were generated by mistakes that were allowed in the previous period. As the revolution developed, the importance of the national factor increased.
- How did the revolution change the fate of the national suburbs, including the South Caucasus?
- It had very different consequences, because it created nationalist movements and national feelings in many republics. On the other hand, the results of the revolution led to consolidation. Consolidation processes that occurred later played a positive role to a large extent, because the very idea of brotherhood of peoples, mutual assistance of peoples living in close territories is a progressive and positive idea.