A century has passed since the Russian Revolution of 7-8 November 1917 (although it is commonly known as the October Revolution, that is because it took place on 25-26 October under the Julian calendar then in use in Russia). Perhaps uncomfortable about promoting discussion of the idea of governments being overthrown by force, the Kremlin is not organising any commemorative events.

Vladimir Lenin's influence has waned over the past 100 years but his image remains on monuments built across the former Soviet Union as part of a cult of personality. Many memorials have been toppled since the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 but others remain, reflecting a debate in Russia about his legacy.

Lenin was born in 1870 and became one of the 20th century's most important leaders as the revolution inspired by Karl Marx transformed Russia and influenced Socialists around the world for decades. As the first leader of the one-party communist state, Lenin redistributed land and nationalised industry and banks in a bid to champion the working class. He also used violence on a wide scale to crush perceived opponents of his Marxist ideology.

When he died in 1924, Soviet authorities displayed his body in a mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square where it lies to this day.

On 30 October 2017, Russia's other great Vladimir – President Putin – inaugurated a monument to the victims of Stalinist purges. Nearly 700,000 people were executed during the Great Terror of 1937-38, according to conservative official estimates. Vladimir Putin told human rights activists he hoped the centenary of the Revolution would allow society to draw a line under the tumultuous events of 1917 and to accept Russia's history – "with great victories and tragic pages".