Authenticity and affect in historical reenactments of the Russian Revolution on social media

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Historical reenactments commemorate notable past events and characters, experiencing history and creating public engagement with them through various kinds of performances. Reenactors draw on archival and other historical materials to describe the past through the eyes, experiences and behaviour of the people of the past. This chapter compares historical reenactments of the 1917 Russian Revolution on social media. It takes Project ‘1917 – Free History’ and #1917Live as two cases with different backgrounds, levels of authenticity, technological approaches and preferred target audiences. Project ‘1917 – Free History’ relied on volunteers and sponsors. It favoured historical accuracy and supplemented its main website with pages on VK and Facebook. The main language was Russian, with parts of the project translated into English. #1917Live was a Twitter-based project of the Russian international broadcaster RT. It cared less about historical authenticity and concentrated mainly on English-speaking publics. The comparison relies on the assumptions of affective theory, which describes a shift from structural and events-based history towards the primacy of affects and personal experiences in reenactments. The analysis suggests that conventional structural readings of history influenced the projects’ hypothetical propensity to affect. In addition, social media affordances, such as likes, shares (or retweets), comments and hyperlinks, are taken here as indicators of the project’s affectivity. The chapter integrates research on the role of media in historical reenactments, summarizes the operational contexts of the projects and assesses their affectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFreedom of Expression in Russia's New Mediasphere
EditorsMariëlle Wijermars, Katja Lehtisaari
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2019
Article number6
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-34665-9
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-43720-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameBASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies

Fields of Science

  • 518 Media and communications

Cite this

Yagodin, D. (2019). Authenticity and affect in historical reenactments of the Russian Revolution on social media. In M. Wijermars, & K. Lehtisaari (Eds.), Freedom of Expression in Russia's New Mediasphere (pp. 115-133). [6] (BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies). Abingdon: Routledge.