On 22nd November, the History A2 classes attended an A level study day on Russia and Revolution at UCL Institute of Education. The event covered the vast spectrum of Russian history from the collapse of the monarchy to the Stalin era. For us, the highlight of the day was the talk given by Professor Orlando Figes who discussed the violence that heavily featured during this period. Seeing the connection of Bolshevism as a religion, discussed by Dr Zoe Knox, with the violence that Professor Figes analysed, was deeply satisfying. Additionally, Professor Jan Plamper spoke about the intricacies of the Stalin era – particularly the Stalin cult – which was reinforced by Dr James Ryan who spoke about Stalinism and its development during the NEP years. Having observed all of the different interpretations put forward, as well as discussing the issues raised, we were able to formulate our own balanced judgement of Russia.
As well as the day being intellectually stimulating, it was also highly informative thanks to the useful exam techniques given by Dr Robin Bunce. We have thoroughly enjoyed reading these Historian’s work during our lessons and so these lectures have not only enriched our knowledge of the course, but have also had a great influence on our interpretations of Russian history.
We would like to thank John and Judi for organising such a captivating day that enabled us to broaden our horizons.
Aajili Pindoria and Tia Singara