Screenshot from Twitter, courtesy Seth J. Frantzman.
(photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
Vladimir Lenin has been busy the last few days.
On November 12 he told critics, “We excluded nobody from Soviets, we always wanted coalition Soviet government. If other Socialists decline to work with us, all the worse for them.”
At the same time the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee said that its first batch of “revolutionary sailors” has disembarked from Valiyevsky Island in Saint Petersburg.
These events took place 100 years ago in Russia, but they are being live-tweeted today as if it is a contemporary revolution. Some of it feels oddly relevant, with statements we might hear today from various regimes.
“We never wanted any violence, hoped for a peaceful solution, a deal on support for ousted government,” wrote Leon Trotsky on November 11.
There are even salacious accusations of their version of “fake news.” Lenin warned that there has been an attack on Communist media. “We strike back with adequate response,” he tweeted.
It’s all part of a project of Russia Today, the Russian news outlet. Anna Belkina, the head of communications, said that the approach was to take social media reenactment and in-depth exploration of historical events for educational purposes to the next level. “We created a fullfledged ‘Twitter drama,’ turning history into a role-playing event. The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution – one of the most significant geopolitical events of the 20th century – presented itself as the perfect historical event to test this approach.”
She said the response has been overwhelming, with over 100 accounts in total tweeting in real time to over 200,000 followers. Those engaged in the project include “prominent international public figures, journalists and members of academia.” The project will run until the end of December.
The characters include Czar Nicholas II and various monarchists, the Provisional Government that took over after he abdicated in March 1917, poets, sailors, bakers and industrialists.
Most of all it involves the Bolshevik Party members such as Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others.
They all tweet under the hashtags #1917Live and #1917crowd. There are also American characters such as Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs and The New York Times of 1917.
You can read the 1917-era words of Rosa Luxemburg, the Polish-born Jewish Marxist. “Before a revolution happens, it is perceived as impossible; after it happens, it is seen as having been inevitable.” She has 19,000 followers.
In real life Luxemburg was executed in Germany in 1919; in the 2017 version, she will apparently stop tweeting in December this year.