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What is "1917. Free history"?

  • “1917. Free History” is a project that enables participants to find out about the history of 1917 from those who lived during this defining moment of twentieth century history.
  • The project consists entirely of primary sources. It includes not a trace of invention. All the texts used are taken from genuine documents written by historical figures: letters, memoirs, diaries and other documents of the period.
  • “1917. Free History” is a serial, but in the form of a social network. Every day, when you go onto the site, you will find out what happened exactly one hundred years ago: what various people were thinking about and what happened to each of them in this eventful year. You may not fast-forward into the future, but must follow events as they happen in real time.
  • “1917. Free History” is a way of bringing the past to life and bringing it closer to the present day. It is a way of understanding what the year 1917 was like for those who lived in Russia and in other countries. We have scoured archives and storerooms for texts, photographs and videos, many of which have never seen the light of day before.
  • The project is the work of a team of journalists, experts, designers, animators and illustrators.

How does it work?

Our main aim is to make history popular – to bring a multitude of voices from a diverse array of historically significant figures to as wide an audience as possible. That is why we do not always observe all those standards which are normally considered inviolable in serious scholarship.

  • We shorten texts to make them more readable. However, we never change the words or the sense of what has been written
  • Next to each entry, users will find a link directing them to the original document from which it was taken.

Project Team

Mikhail Zygar – project author, founder and editor-in-chief

Karen Shainyan – project co-founder and executive director

Olga Avstreyh – product director

Darya Ivanova – executive producer

Andrey Borzenko – senior editor

Serafim Orekhanov – senior editor

Yuriy Saprykin-junior – editor of social networks and special projects

Mikhail Degtyarev – script writer and story editor

Viktoria Malyutina-Lukashina – editor, archive producer

Galina Papernaya – media editor

Rashel Zemlinskaya – director of photography

Irina Ivanova – financial director

Alyona Tokareva – designer

Aleksey Alekseev – economic editor

Natalya Shainyan – cultural editor

Aleksey Astafiev – artist and animator

Roman Manikhin – artist

Vladimir Ozherelyev – legal advisor

Svetlana Dolya – commercial producer

Ivan Sidorov – technical director, ITSumma

Evgeniy Finkelstein – senior software developer, ITSumma

Sergey Sporyshev – senior software developer, ITSumma

Aleksey Shabalin – senior software developer, ITSumma

Evgeniy Elesin – senior software developer, ITSumma

Bortnyk Alexander – software developer, ITSumma

Andrey Shamakhov – lead mobile developer, ITSumma

Academic consultants:

Kirill Solovyev, Doctor of Historical Sciences, senior researcher for the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, author of a number of works on late 19th and early 20th C Russian political history

Roman Timenchik, Professor at University of Jerusalem, expert in early 20th century Russian culture

Andrey Sarabyanov, art historian, author, compiler and academic editor of “The Encyclopedia of the Russian Avantgarde”

Nikolay Bogomolov, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor at Moscow State University, head of the Faculty of Literary and Art Criticism, specialist in 20th C Russian literature

Georgy Orekhanov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor at the St Tikhon Orthodox University, specialist in the history of the Russian church in the late 19th C and early 20th centuries.

Alexandra Selivanova, historian of architecture, curator of the Avant-Garde Centre at Shabolovka

Pushkin House, London, is the english language partner for this website. Pushkin House is holding a series of events connected to the centenary of the revolution throughout the year.

Pushkin House' team:

Leo Shtutin — translator

Rose France — translator

Clem Cecil — copy-editor

Alina Grigorjan — coordinator

Rebecca Ostrovsky — social media

Nela Hajec — Twitter feed support


The New York Times — ‘Revolution? What Revolution?’ Russia Asks 100 Years Later

CNN — Russia's 1917 revolution gets a social media makeover | Russian Revolution: An awkward moment for Putin 100 years on | The revolution Putin wants to ignore

BBC — Russian Revolution given social network treatment | BBC Project 1917: Humanising the Russian revolution

The Guardian — Tragedy or triumph? Russians agonise over how to mark 1917 revolutions

The Economist — A Russian social-media site is reliving 1917

The Spectator UK — Why Putin’s Russia will be keeping quiet about 1917

Lonely Planet — You can now relive Russian history in real time on this social media feed

The Spectator Australia — Red faces

Zprávy — Rusové vzkřísili hlasy cara a Lenina, zánik impéria mapují den po dni

LetrasLibres — #Vistazo a la semana

Financial Times — Like, share, tweet: social media meets the Russian Revolution

Le Monde — En Russie, l’impossible commémoration de 1917

Macleans — The return of the czar

New York Public Radio — World on Edge: Russia, The U.S. and History’s Greatest Geopolitical Chess Match

Huffington Post — 100 years after February Revolution: Remembering the end of the Russian Empire

Forbes — The Legacy Of Russia's Revolution A Hundred Years On: How Millions Died For A Horrible Idea

The Times UK — Putin quells revolutionary talk on centenary

Deutschlandfunk — Freundschaftsanfrage von Lenin

El Pais — ¿Qué queda de la Revolución de Octubre?

La Repubblica — Rivoluzione russa, cent'anni e non celebrarli

The Calvert Journal — Free history: experience 1917 in real time with this Russian social media-style project

Chatham House — Ssh! Don't mention the revolution

Newsweek — Why Putin dare not celebrate the bolshevik revolution

Expansion Mexico — Opinión: la revolución que Putin quiere ignorar

Many thanks to our voluntary translators:

Seb Fichot, Patrick Sewell, Sean Guillory, Matveij Dubianskij, Mikhail Pronko, Anastasia Skoybedo, Hilah Kohen, David Averre

Other participants in the project:

Ekaterina Bazanova, Ekaterina Abramova, Pavel Krasovitsky, Ilya Starkova, Ksenia Akselrod, Julia Yuzefovich, Maria Shubina, Peter Kotrelev, Alyona Vershinina, Ulyana Malashenko, Daria Gabelko, Andrey Shashkov, Eduard Epshteyn, Olga Derkach, Vladislav Bykov, Daria Sukharchuk, Maria Noel, Kamil Galeev, Vera Raskina, Nikolay Misko, Alesya Chernyavskaya, Sergey Sdobnov, Stanislav Kuvaldin, Marie Konstantinidi, Anna Rezvykh, Alexandra Sivtsova, Alexander Kolyandr, Maxim Konyaev, Maria Zakhodyaychenko, Natalia Beskhlebnaya, Maria Krivosheina, Irene Shestopalova, Svetlana Yatsyk, Tina Kataeva, Ilya Ovchinnikov, Tasha Lizorkina, Valeria Pliskina, Natalia Kudryavtseva, Alexander San’kov, Nikolay Borisov, Egor Maximov, Aleksey Izosimov, Elizaveta Knyazeva, Daria Strahova, Irina Rubanova, Ella Rossman, Maria Smirnova, Sergei Popov, Arseniy Popov, Olga Slivko, Tatyana Kullanda, Irina Franzuzhan, Natalya Tenzer, Viktoria Gendlina, Vladimir Maksakov, Daulet Zhanaidarov, Polina Peremitina, Nika Kraynova, Nina Vinogradova, Darya Pasichnik, Maksim Dyakonskiy, Arina Khokhlova, Vanya Oskolkov

We are also grateful to the following:

The actor Martin J Cooke for his voice

Patrick Sewell for his voice

The composer Andrey OID for the music for the documentary chronicle and the animation

Lena Kiryushina for everything

Contact Us:

If you have noticed a mistake on our site, please write to us at

If you have some archive material you would like to offer the project, please write to us at

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