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American journalist and radical Louise Bryant (1885-1936), was, with her husband and fellow newspaper reporter John Reed, a sympathetic eyewitness to the 1917 October Revolution and beginning of the Communist regime, meeting most of its leaders. Both wrote favourable articles and books about it: Reed's 'Ten Days that Shook the World' and Louise Bryant's 'My Six Red Months in Russia'. The latter portrays the Bolshevik regime in its early months as genuinely idealistic, offering hope for the future, and while not a Western style democracy using only mild methods against its opponents. However, she then returned to live in the West, spending her last years in Paris.

John Reed died in 1920, probably too early to risk full disillusionment. However, Louise lived until January 1936, in the time of the famine caused by the forced collectivization of agriculture and on the eve of Stalin's Great Purge. By that time most of the leaders of the Revolution whom she had known (Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky and the Left Socialist Revolutionary Marie Spiridonova) had fallen from power. We now know they were to be executed or murdered in the next few years by the orders of Joseph Stalin, a figure who had been around behind the scenes during the Revolution but so obscurely that in her contemporay writings about the Revolution Louise Bryant had not mentioned him.

Had she become disillusioned with the Soviet Union by then and did she have any sense of the frightening tyranny it was becoming?

By then she had retired from journalism, so Louise B was no longer writing opinion pieces about it. Such questions were possibly overshadowed for her by her divorce (having remarried after Reed's death) and health problems of her last years. Even so, she remained protective of the reputation and legacy of John Reed, who had believed in the Russian Revolution and Soviet Communism.

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    Not sure it's enough for an answer, but Virginia Gardner's biography seems to suggest that she had not yet become disillusioned by the time of her death. – sempaiscuba Jun 1 at 0:41
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    This "close" vote is looks unwarranted. To answer this question, Bryant's specific view must be demonstrated. This can only be done by using her latest surviving writing or credible quotation in some other person's memoirs. Even though not explicitly mentioned in the answer, that is the only way one could answer this question given the question makes out that her view towards the end of her life should be demonstrated. – gktscrk Jun 2 at 4:29
  • @gktscrk This is a community-moderated site, so those close votes are inherently valid. In the last 2 chapters of the biography I cited above, the author describes several actions which seem (to me) to suggest that she had not yet become disillusioned by the time of her death, but I recognise that my interpretation of those descriptions are just that - my interpretations. The evidence does not seem (to me) to be conclusive. Others may read those chapters & come to a different conclusion. Yet, as the question is currently written, an answer based on those chapters would seem to be acceptable. – sempaiscuba Jun 2 at 12:22
  • @sempaiscuba: Yes, that's more than fair. I should have added "...to me" to the end of that statement to further reflect it was only my personal opinion -- and my reasoning why I voted to keep it open. Others can disagree based on how they read that question, but as no one up to that point had specified what they found opinion-based I figured it could be helpful if I outlined why I didn't think it was such. You are, of course, absolutely correct on the validity of the votes either way, but it would be difficult for the OP to improve his post without any discussion on why it's being closed. – gktscrk Jun 2 at 12:46

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