Written by: Dylan Hebert (History, Class of 2017)
“1917. Free History” is a project that presents the events of 1917 in the form of social media. The stated goal of the project is to “enable participants to find out about the history of 1917 from those who lived during this defining moment of twentieth century history.” A Russian project, the site is focused mostly on Russian history. The year of both the February and October Revolutions as well as a major year in World War I, 1917 is a landmark year in Russian history.
The project is set up in imitation of newsfeeds on social media. The main difference is that historical figures write all the posts instead of friends. Each day begins with the weather forecast in both Petrograd (Now St. Petersburg) and Moscow, just as it was reported on that day in 1917. “Statues” can even be liked, commented on, and shared on Facebook. As the day progresses, subscribers receive notifications from the posts of historical figures ranging from Vladimir Lenin to Gertrude Stein. According to the site, the project consists entirely of primary sources without “a trace of invention.” Sources can be found in the form of diary entries, memoirs, letters, videos, and other documents.
In short, “1917. Free History” provides a means of placing subscribers in the context of 1917 in a way that is convenient and simple, allowing the reader to “relive” the events of 1917 at their from day to day. “1917. Free History” can be accessed through Facebook, VKontakte, and from its own site: https://project1917.com/