On the centenary of the revolution, my memories are of people defying the regime around the kicthen table, with a togetherness missing in western lives

As the world commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution, the focus is rightly on the horrors of the regime it ushered in.

Russians, and their captive nations, suffered a century of almost inconceivable pain. Tens of millions perished in the revolution and civil war, in the forced collectivisation of farming, the terror of the 1930s, and the second world war. Then came the postwar repressions, and finally the tumult of the end of communism and the bewildering attempts to introduce capitalism and democracy. Russians should be forgiven for being traumatised by their recent history.

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