Image of Russian Revolution in American Radical Discourse: the Russia’s Social Mission vs the US Liberal Mission
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Image of Russian Revolution in American Radical Discourse: the Russia’s Social Mission vs the US Liberal Mission
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Victoriya Zhuravleva 
Affiliation: Russian State University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The Russian revolution of 1905—1907 and the both revolutions of 1917 turned the dilemma of Russian progress into the subject of American socio-political discourse and became the culmination of the Americans’ first and second crusades for the creation of a democratic Russia. The “demonic” and the “romantic” (both liberal and radical) images of Russia’s revolution integrated into the national identity discourse. Americans “invented” these “mental images” on the basis of their ideology of progress and expansion, their own vision of ideal political and social arrangements, true revolution, the place of the US in the world, and its role in the process of its democratization. This article examines image of the Russian revolution in representations of American radicals by means of а social-constructivist approach to the study of international relations and conceptual pair “the American Self — the Russian Other”. The Russian revolutionary “Other” had turned into the essential element in the identity construction of the American Left during the 1905—1907 Russian revolution. This transformation occurred within the framework of the radical discourse thanks to the efforts of the American “Gentlemen-Socialists” and other representatives of Leftist ideologies in the US, especially the Russian-Jewish emigrants of radical views. All of them saw importance of this revolution in the uniqueness of the social message it was sending to the entire humanity, and not in a movement for the creation of “the United States of Russia”, and used dichotomy the Russia’s social mission vs the US liberal mission. The 1917 revolution in its evolution from February to October changed not only the perception of Russian Revolution as a phenomenon by those American radicals who have been inspired by the Russian social message in 1905–1907 but their vision of socialism as well. The ideological conversion of the “Gentlemen-Socialists” (Arthur Bullard, Ernest Poole, and William English Walling) and radical Progressivists (Rheta Dorr) are in the center of author’s analysis within a “discourse of disappointment”. The comparative context (a “discourse of fascination”) has been represented by conversion of John Reed into Communism and of Albert Williams into the ideology of social justice during their journey to revolutionary Russia in 1917.

Russian revolution, American images of Russia, the US liberal mission, the Russia’s social mission, the “Gentlemen-Socialists”, the American Lefts
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