The Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War were two of the most cataclysmic events of the twentieth century.
In reshaping the largest nation on earth, their aftershocks are felt a century later. Civil war emanated from the
Revolution. The instigators of the Revolution, the Bolsheviks, acted in desperation, instating short-sighted policies
of nationalization and confiscation which antagonized most of Russian society. A loose coalition of counterrevolutionary
forces, vaguely referred to as the White Movement, began fighting back in earnest in summer 1918. Their aims and
means, however, always operated from the margins and often at cross purposes. As a result, no true center of opposition
to Communism ever coalesced. By 1921, after three years of cruel fighting, famine, and pestilence that resulted in
up to ten million military and civilian deaths, the Bolsheviks emerged as the improbable victors, which resulted in
the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Like all nascent states that arise out of a cauldron, it sought
to memorialize its achievement. The series of ten pictorial maps published towards that end represent a traditional
channel of Russian communication: revolutionary posters celebrating the victory of Bolshevism over its internal and
external enemies. Both charismatic and informative, they tell the story of the Civil War from the Bolshevik point of
view. Hopefully their presentation will inspire further discussion on this painful episode in Eurasian history.
Cartographic Reference Specialist
Geography and Map Division
Library of Congress