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New Website Lets Users Relive Russian History One Day at a Time

1917: Free History 1917: Free History

A media project that allows users to track the events leading up to the 1917 Revolution in real-time launched last month. 

The project, entitled “1917: Free History” is the brainchild of Mikhail Zygar, the author of the bestselling book on Putin’s presidency “All the Kremlin's Men” and former editor-in-chief of the independent Russian television news channel Dozhd. The project coincides with the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution.

“Everything that's happening to us now is to a certain degree a consequence of absolute misunderstanding of what happened then. It's a period of time that no one really figured out,” said Zygar in an interview with The Moscow Times.

The website uses historical records, letters and newspapers to show events as they unravel from the perspective of nearly one thousand historical figures. The updates are published in the form of a social media feed. 

Visitors to the site who are particularly interested in one of the historical or cultural figures can “friend” them to follow their updates more closely. 

“We are not being ironic, we are not making a comic website. The social network format is simply an excellent way of translating that epoch into contemporary language,” said Zygar. 

The idea for the project came to Zygar when he left his previous job at Dozhd and wanted a change of pace from his career as a journalist. 

“I wasn't disappointed with the profession of journalism, I just wanted to find another theme and another field to work in. Working on my book, I realized that for me it's more interesting to dig into one specific period of time.”

"1917" is currently planning some offline events to compliment the site, including a performance at Gogol Center in November next year to be directed by Kirill Serebrennikov.

Visit the website to find out what was happening in Russia this day 100 years ago.

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