Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution

Watch Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution

  • 2017
  • 1 Season

Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution is a historical documentary series produced by BBC Select, which aims to narrate the events that led to the 1917 revolution that changed Russia and the course of world history. The show is presented by historian Helen Rappaport, who explores the political and social situation that existed in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. By combining archival footage, interviews with historians and experts, and dramatic reenactments, Rappaport provides viewers with a unique perspective on the events leading up to the Russian Revolution.

The series begins its exploration of Russia's revolution with the reign of Nicholas II, who was the last Tsar to rule Russia. Rappaport points out the flaws and limitations of his reign, painting a picture of a man who was out of touch with the changing world around him. Through the help of historians, she explains how the Tsarist autocracy remained stubbornly opposed to reform despite growing popular discontent, which contributed to widespread unrest.

As the documentary unfolds, the audience gets a glimpse of the broader political situation that shaped the Russian Revolution. The show details how Marxist ideology began to spread among the working classes, leading to the rise of the Bolshevik Party led by Vladimir Lenin.

In addition to exploring the political scene, the documentary also delves into the daily lives of ordinary Russians. The show reveals the drawbacks of modernisation, including the inequality and exploitation that defined life for many people living under the Tsarist regime. Through their eyes, the audience can see how many Russians were frustrated with the political situation that had stagnated and how the idealised picture of Russia was far from the lived reality for the majority of Russians.

One of the documentary's strengths is its ability to provide context to the events of the revolution. Rappaport explores the complex web of relationships between the different factions and groups that were fighting for power. She also highlights the role that World War I played in destabilising Russia, explaining how Russia's involvement affected the country's industrial output and made life even more difficult for ordinary Russians.

As the revolutionary moment approaches in 1917, the show highlights the key players who played a pivotal role in the revolution. Rappaport interviews historians to provide the audience with an idea of their backgrounds, motivations and what drove them.

The documentary takes its time in laying the groundwork for the events that followed the Tsar's abdication in February 1917, allowing viewers to understand the revolution's various stages. It presents the ups and downs of the revolution, from the formation of the provisional government to its eventual collapse and the subsequent rise of the Bolsheviks under Lenin.

One of the most interesting parts of the documentary is how it shows the revolution's effects on the individual. By focusing on the experiences and emotions of ordinary Russians, the show provides a human angle that many other histories ignore.

In terms of technique, Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution is well-produced, with a blend of on-location shoots and dramatic recreations that help to bring the past to life. The pacing is well-judged, with the documentary taking necessary pauses to explain complicated historical contexts that other documentaries skip over.

Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution provides a gripping narrative of the events that led up to the Russian Revolution. It is a detailed examination of the social and political conditions that led to one of the twentieth century's most significant, transformative events. By focusing on the personalities behind the revolution, as well as the experiences of ordinary Russians, the documentary tells a fascinating story of a society in turmoil, where rapid change and idealistic fervour led to a new era, and at the same time, set the table for one of the most dictatorial regimes in history.

Overall, the show is a must-watch for anyone interested in history, politics, and societal upheaval. It highlights the strengths of BBC Select's content production, with their mix of research, scholarship and storytelling being masterfully woven. Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution is an informative and engaging documentary that is both entertaining and informative.

Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (1 episodes). The series first aired on October 9, 2017.

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Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution
1. Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution
October 9, 2017
The names of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky are infamous today. But in the space of a few mere months they went from obscure, slogan-shouting nobodies to supreme leaders of the largest nation on earth. The Russian Revolution was soaked in blood, both as it unfolded and during its tragic aftermath. How did these three lowly troublemakers change the world so dramatically in such a short space of time?
Where to Watch Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution
Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution is available for streaming on the BBC Select website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution on demand at Amazon Prime.
  • Premiere Date
    October 9, 2017