In late 1917, Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Russian Government (which had just forced the Czar’s abdication a few months previously), and declared the world’s first socialist republic. One hundred years later, what have we learned? Did the government the Bolsheviks created differ in any way from the dictates of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto? What is the applied communist ideology, and how did it spread so quickly throughout the world? To what degree did the masses enjoy a workers’ paradise? How many dozens of millions of their subjects have communist regimes killed? Why? Ecologically speaking, have communist governments been good stewards of the environment? What made the Soviet Union collapse, while People’s Republic of China retains power? What about North Korea? Why does this ideology remain so romanticized?
A century after the Russian Revolution, the Cornell Club-NY has invited Professor Valerie Bunce and noted Asia expert Gordon Chang to guide us through: a century of applied communism; its results; and we can expect in the future. Given the range and depth of the evening’s topic, it will be impossible to cover everything. If there are any areas of particular interest to you, please be prepared for our question-and-answer session.
Valerie Bunce is Professor of Government and the Aaron Binenkorb Chair of International Studies at Cornell University. She is a specialist on Russian and eastern European politics, and her career spans the communist and postcommunist period. Her research has focused on such issues as the fall of communism and the dissolution of the Soviet, Yugoslav and Czechoslovak states; the role of elections in bringing down authoritarian rulers; American democracy promotion abroad; the Russian invasion of Ukraine; and the sources and limits of Vladimir Putin’s power. Most recently, she has been working on parallels between the erosion of democracy in contemporary Europe and during the interwar era, on the one hand, and on the other, recent developments in the United States. She has served as Vice-President of the American Political Science Association and President of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. In 2010, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Gordon G. Chang '73, Law '76 is the author The Coming Collapse of China and Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World, both from Random House. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Commentary, and The Weekly Standard, among other publications. Chang has given numerous briefings in Washington and other capitals and has frequently appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Bloomberg, CNBC, MSNBC, and PBS. He is a regular co-host and guest on The John Batchelor Show. He is a columnist at The Daily Beast and a Forbes.com contributor. He has served two terms as trustee of Cornell University.
6:00pm reception; 6:30pm lecture, gratis. Members and guests are invited to dine at The Club with Professor Bunce and Mr. Chang following the lecture. The cost is $40 per person, inclusive of tax, gratuity and one glass of wine with dinner. Dinner reservations are required 48 hours prior to the program. Same-day cancellations and no shows will be charged.