The Russian Revolution and Soviet Durability

Lecture | November 7 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 223 Moses Hall

 Lucan Way, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Institute of International Studies

The Soviet Union was one of the most durable authoritarian regimes in modern history. It not only endured 74 years, but survived multiple and severe crises -- from massive popular unrest in 1921 to deadly purges in the 1930s to the invasion of Germany in 1941. Professor Way argues that such robustness can be traced to the regime's origins in violent, revolutionary struggle. A history of violent revolutionary struggle often provokes crises but also inoculates regimes against major causes of authoritarian breakdown such as military coups and mass protest. Indeed, revolutionary origins explains the durability of some of the most robust authoritarian regimes in the twentieth century -- including China, Cuba, and Iran.