Ruthchild R. Misbehaving women and the Russian revolutions of 1917. Translated by N. L. Pushkareva, pp. 35-44

This text aims to reflect on the specific history of women’s participation and women’s agency in political events in Russia in 1917. The main goal was to investigate the problem of the origins of invisibilty of gender issues in Russian revolutionary history and to fill the white spots. Synthesizing several decades of scholarship by historians East and West, Rochelle Ruthchaild traces the major developments in the history of women struggle for suffrage in Russia and their impact on the history of the nation. She tries to underline that twenty-five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian historical narrative too often remains unchallenged. Links between the events of February 1917, when Petrograd women took to the streets on International Women’s Day to spark the revolution, the March 19 suffrage demonstration, the creation of the Women’s Battalion, the July electoral law that granted full democratic rights to Russian women and the Constituent Assembly elections remain unexplored. She shows that women’s suffrage was indeed one of the “forgotten” (in Russian historiography) achievements of the Provisional Government. And the result of the suffrage victory, in author’s opinion, was that Lenin and the Bolsheviks gained control of a state in which women already had an experience of formally performing citizenship, through voting.
Integrating information about women’s entry into the public sphere in 1917, through study of their participation in demonstrations, marches with a po-litical purpose, the various forms of female activism in Spring 1917 and after, and the battle for women’s suffrage, enhances the understanding of the revolu-tionary year in relation to questions of citizenship, democratic reform, and con-ceptions of gender and female agency.
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