Boris Kolonitskii

  Boris Kolonitskii is Professor of History at the European University at St Petersburg.

  Boris Kolonitskii

Comrade Kerensky:
The Revolution against the Monarchy and the Formation of the Cult of ‘The Leader of the People’ (March–June 1917)

Translated by Arch Tait

Polity Press, 2020
Hardback, £21.25

ISBN 978-1-509-53364-0
374 pages

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Boris Kolonitskii has done more than any other scholar to explore the political culture of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Here, in sparkling detail, he reveals the democratic hopes, ideas and illusions that attached themselves to the propaganda image of Alexander Kerensky, the “first love of the revolution”, whose dramatic rise and fall from grace personified the revolution’s destiny. This is the work of a master scholar which demands to be widely read.’

Orlando Figes, author of A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891–1924

In this major new study, Boris Kolonitskii uses the figure of Kerensky to show how popular engagement with the idea of the Leader became a key component of a cultural reimagining of the political landscape after the fall of the monarchy. A parallel revolution was taking place on the level of creating a resonant political vocabulary where one had not existed before, and it was in the shared exercise of bestowing and dissolving authority that a politicized way of seeing began to emerge. Kolonitskii plots the unfurling of this symbolic revolution by examining the tapestry of images woven by Kerensky and those around him and, in so doing, exposes his vital role in the development of nascent Soviet political culture.

This highly original portrait of a revolutionary leader sheds new light on the cult of Kerensky that developed around this charismatic individual during the months following the overthrow of the tsar. It will be of great value to students and scholars of Russian history and to anyone interested in modern Russia and political culture.


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