1917  - 1940: from revolutionary Russia to stalinian terror

Composed of about 60 images from various international historical archives (including some Russian museums), the photo exhibition "The Bolsheviks in Power. 1917 - 1940: from revolutionary Russia to Stalinist terror " was realized on the occasion of the centenary of the Taking of the Winter Palace in Petersburg on 7 - 8 November (25 - 26 October according to the Julian calendar) of 1917 by the Bolsheviks, coup d'etat that started one of the most violent regimes of the 20th century and ended only with the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago. The exhibition retraces step by step the descent  of Russian society into the hell under the yoke of the Communist dictatorship, recounting from the March Democratic Revolution in which the Tsar was deposed to the October Revolution led by Lenin and Trotsky, from the civil war which destroyed the country to the birth of Soviet Union, from the death of Lenin himself to the appointment of Stalin as successor to leading the party, from the great purges and deportations of the 1930s to the pacts with Hitler and the assassination of Trotsky.


Actors and protagonists of the fall of the Czar, the democratic and reformist parties, who obtained his resignation and the end of autocracy, had not the intelligence, political ability and character to face the mounting aggressiveness of the Bolshevik party and his allies (the left-wing revolutionary socialists) who took advantage of their lack of determination to take power with a military coup. In support of the communists, there was a part of workers and peasants, in the name of which Marxism should have triumphed to change the world and make it a new paradise on earth. But things went differently. Although the coup, the elections promised by the Democrats were made and were lost by the Bolsheviks (they took about 24% of the votes). Lenin, regardless of the will of the people, immediately started the repression of dissent. Once the reformist democratic and reactionary forces were defeated by violence, paradoxically it was the workers and peasants who soon became the most strenuous rivals and most bitter enemies of the new power. The history of the following 20 years is that of a very long and ferocious civil war, sometimes fought with weapons, others with laws, which the Russian Communist Party undertook to tame and definitively subjugate precisely those social classes that had most believed in the promises of Marxism and  in its charismatic revolutionary representatives. 

Curated by:

Alessandro Luigi Perna

A production of:

Eff&Ci - Facciamo Cose (We Do Things)

Pictures of:

A.G.F. Photographic News Agency


background photo of the page ©Universal Images Group / AGF