The Easter Rising and the Soviet Union: an untold chapter in Ireland’s great rebellion | openDemocracy

www.opendemocracy.net_2016-03-24_21-24-46The Easter Rising and the Soviet Union: an untold chapter in Ireland’s great rebellion | openDemocracy – Roddy’s father was James Connolly, the Scottish-Irish revolutionary who led the Easter Rising of 1916. Though carried out by a relatively small number of poorly armed soldiers, the Rising had consequences all out of proportion to the military strength of its participants. It set in motion a chain of events that would eventually lead to the formation of an independent Irish Republic. As we approach the 100-year anniversary of this historic event, there is a chapter that remains untold: the story of how the Rising was remembered in the Soviet Union. The Easter Rising caught the imagination of Bolshevik revolutionaries as soon as news of the events travelled across Europe. Leon Trotsky recalled the impact the Rising had on him in a letter to James Connolly’s daughter, Nora Connolly, in 1936: “The tragic fate of your courageous father met me in Paris during the war. I bear him faithfully in my remembrance”. Other Russian revolutionaries were similarly moved. In 1916 the Bolshevik Platon Kerzhentsev was living in New York in the same boarding house as the Irish poet and novelist Padraic Colum. When news of the Rising broke, Kerzhentsev offered financial assistance to Colum so that he could return to Ireland. Kerzhentsev’s connection with the Rising would be a lasting one: after the October Revolution of 1917 he established himself as a leading Soviet authority on Irish history, publishing various pamphlets and monographs that explained the Easter Rising for a Soviet readership.

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