Bitch-Slapping Statists For Fun & Profit Based On The Non-Aggression Principle
HomePortalGalleryCalendarFAQRegisterLog in

 Russians under Putin wonder how to think about centenary of revolution

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
RR Phantom


Location : Wabbit Hole
Job/hobbies : Cayman Islands Actuary

PostSubject: Russians under Putin wonder how to think about centenary of revolution    Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:32 am

"One side of my family was Communist. On the other side, Granddad Zaitsev said something rude about Stalin and didn't come home from labour camp. So where does that leave me?" asks Vladimir, a middle-aged Muscovite.

"I am divided in my blood, my genes."

One hundred years on from 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution has left its mark on everyone who was born in the USSR. But modern Russia, the state that emerged from the ruins of the Soviet era, does not know what to think.

In the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin must be contemplating the forthcoming 100th anniversary with the same mixed feelings as the ordinary Vladimir on the street.

On the one hand, the date evokes all things Soviet – and Putin once called the breakup of the USSR the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century".

On the other hand, the ghost of the October Revolution can only haunt a man who has made stability his watchword, and who plans to prolong his tsar-like rule without any turbulence from below.

Vodka and arguments

Nearing the anniversary of one of the most momentous events in history – "10 days that shook the world", as American journalist and socialist John Reed put it – it appears there are few plans to officially commemorate it in Moscow. Berlin – divided itself as a consequence of Lenin's red ideology – seems to be doing more, with a series of concerts and showings of Soviet films planned to mark the occasion.

In Communist times, Russians celebrated the October Revolution on November 7 (after it began measuring the date by the "new" Gregorian calendar). Tanks and rockets rumbled through Red Square before everyone sat down to pelmeni (dumplings), mayonnaise-drenched salads and vodka, followed by family arguments about history.

Now Russians have a different November holiday, on the 4th, when they remember a distant thrashing of the Poles as their "Day of National Unity".

Unity is the theme Putin would like Russians to focus on until April, when the vote in the presidential election will be in, and (probably) he will have been re-elected for another six years. In that context, remembering the overthrow of the Tsar is simply not helpful.

The Russian Revolution started in February 1917, when autocratic Romanov Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate and a Menshevik (liberal minority) government began reforms. After Vladimir Lenin, leader of the more revolutionary Bolsheviks (majority of the split Russian labour party) returned from Swiss exile to Petrograd, the Communists seized power in October (by the old calendar).

Tsar Nicholas and his family were murdered in Yekaterinburg in 1918 and Russia descended into a brutal civil war between reds and whites, which lasted until Communist victory in 1922. A wave of emigres fled to the West, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, who went down in history as both a Russian and an American composer.

In Mikhail Gorbachev's time, Russians were encouraged to think of Stalin as the real monster while Lenin was still more or less a saint.

In fact, however, the terror began under Lenin. It accelerated under Stalin, leading to purges in the 1930s when millions of Russians were executed or sent to the gulags. Many of them were true believers in the ideal of equality that had been hijacked by the violent and unscrupulous.

"My great-grandfather Ilya Veger was an old Bolshevik," writer Ludmilla Petrushevskaya posted on Facebook.

When two of Veger's children were sentenced to "10 years without the right of correspondence" (code for being shot) in 1937, he kept the faith, Petrushevskaya went on.

"In 1947, my great-grandfather went to the NKVD [forerunner of the KGB] at the Lubyanka [jail] and said: 'Ten years without the right of correspondence. So now, where are my children?' On November 8, the old man was knocked over by a bread van on Gorky Street. He was 84 years old."

The post received 186 likes. Ada Gorbacheva commented: "A routine horror story. Does anyone want to go back there?"

Officially, the authorities may not be doing much to commemorate the 100th anniversary but Russians are talking about their revolution on the internet.

Alexei Burmistrov, a dentist in Moscow, shared the story of his great-grandfather, Kuzma Makarovich, who was a red commissar.

"In 1937, he was arrested. And shot. They arrested him at night, in winter. Men in leather coats came to get him. They said a vehicle had broken down and they needed help. They told him to dress warmly and bring a saw. Our relatives never saw him again.

"Later it was explained to them that was an NKVD joke: 'dress warmly because you are going to Siberia to cut wood'. He didn't get to cut wood. The decision to shoot him was signed by Stalin. To be more exact, Stalin signed a whole book with a list of the doomed. He put a flourishing signature on the first page."

Alexei also shared a photograph of a wall fresco by an anonymous artist that recently appeared in Moscow. The subversive graffiti appears to be a jolly street scene, showing an outlet of KFC under a red-and-white awning and a turquoise bread van.

But if you look more closely, and recognise what you see, the letters NKVD appear beside the KFC sign and the jaunty bread van driver is wearing a militia uniform. (Bread vans were used as a cover to take people away.)

The message is that painful history lies just beneath the surface of today's reality.

"The problem is with the people's memory," said Alexei. "The USSR was divided between those who sat (in prison) and those who guarded them. With the years, those who sat, and their children and grandchildren, are becoming fewer than those who did the guarding."

But Russia's intellectuals are determined not to let history be erased.

Project 1917 is an attempt by journalist Mikhail Zygar to show all sides of the story. His website is cleverly formatted like Twitter, with real quotes of the day from historical figures.

On  October 24, 1917, Alexandra Kollontai, the only woman in Lenin's government, tweeted: "The resolution of the Central Committee has chosen the course of 'AI': armed insurrection is unavoidable. The time is ripe. The decision was taken during a closed session. Dawn finally dispelled the tension in the air. We realised we were hungry. The samovar was brought in, cheese, sausage …"

With foreboding, Duke Gavriil Konstantinovich tweeted from Petrograd: "We stayed home and saw few people. I went to the Marble Palace to visit Mama. Our friends and acquaintances came to visit us as if nothing had changed. Money was tight, and we were forced to sell some of our things. In the evening on the feast day of our regiment, I put on my uniform. I very much desired to celebrate by being in uniform. I dared not, however, go outside, as those in epaulets were much harassed."

Harassment turned into decades of horror and it was not until after Stalin's death in 1953 that his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, finally exposed the cult of personality in a secret speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party in 1956.

This fell well short of the Nuremberg trials and process of repentance that Germany went through after the defeat of the Nazis, but veteran Russian TV journalist Vladimir Posner said recently the 20th Congress was sufficient admission of guilt.
Putin as Brezhnev?

These days, busts of Stalin are appearing in Russia. Taxi drivers have never stopped using Stalin as a talisman, remembering him not as a mass murderer but as the leader who won the Great Patriotic War (World War II).

The failure to bury the corpse of rogue Communism (literally, because Lenin's body still lies in its Red Square mausoleum) has meant modern Russia has not built a new society on firm foundations.

Gorbachev and his successor Boris Yeltsin were hampered in their attempts to reform the country by those harking back to Soviet ways.

Despite having been in power for over 17 years, Putin has not really changed much – just silenced his opponents and fallen out with the West. Russians are back in the sovok, a slang word meaning both a Soviet-style society and a dustpan. Some are happy to live in a land of false nostalgia, others not.

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny hopes to run against Putin in 2018 but will probably be barred from the race. Now socialite and TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak has thrown her hat into the ring. Many see her as a spoiler candidate, blessed by the Kremlin.

In all likelihood Putin will cheat retirement despite having reached the age of 65.

Some compare him to the tsars, enjoying an opulent lifestyle. Others call him a new Stalin, although if he has killed, it has not been on a mass scale.

Rather, Putin risks coming to resemble Leonid Brezhnev, the geriatric First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, who preferred to go gaga rather than give up power voluntarily.
Anarcho Capitalists Retail , Molyneux Cult Watch Souvenir Mall , OZschwitz Downunder BoutiqueAnarcho-Capitalists,AnCaps Forum,Anti-State,Anti-Statist,Inalienable Rights Defenders,Non-Aggression Principle,Non-Initiation of Force Principle,Rothbardians,Anarchist,Capitalist,objectivism,Ayn Rand,Anarcho-Capitalism,Anarcho-Capitalist,politics,libertarianism,Ancap Forum,Anarchist Forum,Vulgar Libertarians,Hippies of The Right,Forum for Anarcho-Capitalist,Forum for Anarcho-Capitalists,Forum for AnCap,Forum for AnCaps,Libertarian,Anarcho-Objectivist,Freedom, Laissez Faire, Free Trade, Black Market, Randroid, Randroids, Rothbardian, AynArchist, Anarcho-Capitalist Forum, Anarchism, Anarchy, Free Market Anarchism, Free Market Anarchy, Market Anarchy
Back to top Go down

Russians under Putin wonder how to think about centenary of revolution

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: Anarcho-Capitalist Categorical Imperatives :: AnCaps On Realpolitik, Statism & Bureaucracy-