Utopia, Modernisation, Terror – 100 years after October 1917

At 18:00 CET on Tuesday 21st November, Krytyka Polityczna held a debate on the Russian Revolution and its legacy.


A full-length Polish-language recording of the debate can also be accessed by clicking here

About the debate:

Almost exactly 100 years after the first shot was fired aboard the Aurora, this debate looks to investigate what we can learn from the Russian Revolution. Do utopian ideas provide the basis for building a better world, a mere façade to cover up cynical practices or a recipe for disaster and violence? Are states able to forcibly modernise society and do they have the legitimation to do so? Above all, is a century-old revolution still relevant to anyone?

Taking Sheila Fitzpatrick’s recent book on the revolution as a starting point, this debate will seek to analyse the origins, development and impact of the months of February and October 1917 as well as to take a look at how the tough years of the civil war and the first wave of the Red Terror affected the Stalinist Revolution a decade later.

For an in-depth introduction to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and a discussion of its relevance today, watch our English-language highlights video of the discussion or the full-length Polish-language recording.


Paweł Kowal is a politician, academic and civil servant, who represents Poruzuminie in the European Parliament and works as a specialist on CEE and post-Sovietism in the Institute of Political Studies at PAN.

Adam Leszczyński is a journalist and author, a member of the Krytyka Polityczna team and a co-founder of OKO.press, who currently works for the Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza.

Anna Sosnowska is a sociologist at the University of Warsaw’s Centre of American Studies, where she researches emigration, migrant communities and the relationship between centres and peripheries.

Michał Sutowski is a political scientist and journalist and the coordinator of Krytyka Polityczna’s Institute for Advanced Studies.

Adrian Zandberg is a computer scientist, politician and historian, who is best known as one of the leading figures behind the Polish leftist party, Razem.


This Krytyka Polityczna Time to Talk debate took place with the support of the European Union’s Europe for Citizens programme

And, in cooperation with the following media sponsors: