Russian Revolution

By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Story originally appeared on the Dickinson College website on November 7, 2013

Students and professors met on the steps of Bosler Hall last week to mark the anniversary of a 1917 Bolshevik coup. A Russian Club tradition since 1990, the Russian Revolution reenactment included a brief talk about the significance of the revolution by Associate Professor of History Karl Qualls, followed by student presentations of the speeches and slogans that were popular among the Bolsheviks and the opposition.

Everyone who attended the event received a lesson in Russian language along with a healthy dose of world history. The speeches were delivered in Russian, and an interpreter provided line-by-line English translations. The flyers included slogans in Russian and English—and phonetic pronunciations, so that newbies could join in.

“It’s a Russian revolution with no Russian required–the idea is to get as many students as possible involved,” said Russian Club president Barrett Ziegler ’16 , who reports that as a Russian major, he was excited to hear the speeches delivered in Lenin’s native tongue.

According to Russian Club advisor and Assistant Professor of Russian Alyssa DeBlasio, students in the Russian Club worked for weeks to prepare for the event, researching, translating and creating banners and flyers and practicing speeches that Vladimir Lenin delivered in 1917.

“Going through the same motions discontented Russians made a century ago, I find myself engaging the country in a more immediate way.”  said Ziegler. “It’s exposed me to Russian language and Soviet culture in a way I haven’t yet had from any class or textbook.”

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