Extensions and Resources

Equality and Revolution: Women’s Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905-1917 by Rochelle Ruthchild. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010.

Five Sisters: Women Against the Tsar
 by Barbara Engel and Clifford Rosenthal. Routledge, 1992.

In addition, take a look at these online resources:

Library of Alexandra Kollantai’s Works

A full library of Kollantai’s works in English translation, including a number of pieces describing the participation of women in the 1917 revolution and the philosophical foundation’s for Kollantai’s response to the “women’s question.” The site also includes a biography of Kollantai and an image gallery.

“The New Woman” at Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

Part of a larger collection of educational modules in Soviet history, “The New Woman” features a short subject essay about women revolutionaries in 1917, as well as images of relevant posters and documents, and a photo essay. With free registration, users can also access a number of primary source documents related to the topics.

Bonus Activity: Close Looking at Primary Sources

In Equality and Revolution, Rochelle Ruthchild addresses the multiple perspectives and narratives that have been shaped around the role of women activists in revolutionary Russia.  When confronting these multiple claims, it is powerful for students to engage directly with primary source materials.  

Have students watch the film clip once and record answers to the following prompts:

  • What do you See in the clip? What do you Think is happening here? What do you Wonder about the clip or what is happening in it?
  • Make a Claim about the film; Give Support to your claim; Ask a Question related to your claim.  

Give opportunities for multiple viewings: ask students to share their responses to the prompts above before viewing a second time.  During this viewing, provide more guided questions:

  • How would you describe the tone or mood of the gathering?
  • Who is in attendance?  What clues can you gather about the demographics of the crowd?  What sources of diversity do you notice, if any?

After students have shared their observations, the teacher can share a short excerpt of the included video interview in which Rochelle Ruthchild gives further background on the march.  

“Written accounts, augmented by photos and newsreel, show the cross-class nature of the march.  Those wearing hats (signifying more affluent women) and those wearing kerchiefs (the head coverings of female workers and peasants) mingled freely in the crowd....”  (Full account on Ruthchild, 227).

How does the context provided by Ruthchild compare to the student’s observations and conclusions about the event?  What is the significance of the crowd’s economic diversity?