A Century Later, Russia Still Is Fighting Its Revolution

In Russia, October 25 is the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, as a result of which the monarchical dynasty of the Romanovs was overthrown and the socialist-communist power of the Bolsheviks was established. Despite the fact that it happened a long time ago, this historic event still provokes broad public political discussions. This is primarily because many contemporary problems in Russia and the post-Soviet space are directly related to the consequences of the Bolshevik Revolution. Moreover, without an analysis of these historical processes, it is impossible to understand and appreciate Russia's geopolitical desire to strengthen and expand its influence on the Eurasian space. So, what happened 100 years ago and why does it continue to affect today's realities?

Some historians believe that the Great October Revolution was a natural consequence of social development and the class struggle, given monopoly capitalism. Opponents of such ideas note that the transfer of power to the Bolsheviks occurred because of the weakness of the Provisional Government. Using its indecisiveness, the Bolshevik conspirators received money from Germany and launched mass propaganda and destructive activity. With populist slogans, they promised to end the war, give land to peasants, and the factories and property of the bourgeoisie to workers. They even guaranteed freedom for national minorities to leave the Empire. But today's Russian neo-imperialists propagandize these ideas, emphasizing that the October Revolution was a deeply antipatriotic act since it was committed with the money of a foreign state, for which Russia's national interests were sacrificed.

In fact, Russian politics today have become an arena for confrontation of the three major camps: communist, monarchical and social-conservative. The leaders of these movements agree that Moscow is the third Rome and it should dominate the Eurasian space. However, there are discrepancies about the ideology that should become the driving force of the new empire. Sergey Kurginyan -- one of the leaders of the neo-Marxist movement -- is sure that the revival of the red empire is inevitable. The reason for that is that although the results of the referendum on the collapse of the USSR showed that most people wanted to preserve the Soviet Union, they were illegally ignored. During the event devoted to the 99th anniversary of the Revolution, Gennady Zyuganov -- leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) -- stated a clear goal "to revive the great united power."

The monarchist front is also gaining popularity. According to recent sociological surveys, a third of young people in Russia favour the monarchical form of government in the country. There are 35 % of monarchy supporters among people between 25 and 34. In general, the share of Russian citizens that are not against or support the monarchy is consistently growing: in 2006 - 21%, in 2017 - 28%. The ideologists of monarchism emphasize that Orthodox Russia is the heir of the destroyed Byzantine Empire. The leaders of numerous socio-political movements of this kind believe that after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, Russia became the only real guardian of the Orthodox faith in the world. Further, it predetermined its isolation from the West, tracing Russia's special historical path.

Alexander Dugin, a philosopher and supporter of the monarchy restoration, writes that Byzantium gives a unique dimension to all nations that have adopted Orthodoxy. This dimension is not only narrowly confessional, but also cultural, political, and civilizational. The neo-Byzantine ideological path of Russia is actively promoted through the TV channel called "Tsargrad" (note: the Russian name of Constantinople). It is financed by Konstantin Malafeev, who is known as the "Orthodox oligarch." "Tsargrad TV" positions itself as the first Russian conservative information and analytical channel. It closely cooperates with Russian public and religious organizations, in particular, with the Russian Orthodox Church. In addition, over the past decade, newspapers, magazines and radio stations have been launched. Thus, monarchists, like communists, possess substantial material and human resources for broadcasting their ideas to the general public.

Social-conservative ideas are devised in the "Izborsk Club."  The ideological direction of this organization can be identified as a synthesis of different views of Russian statesmen in a single ideological platform: from socialists and Soviet patriots to monarchists and Orthodox conservatives. There are such influential personalities among the members of the Club as Sergey Glazyev -- adviser to President Putin on economic issues, Dmitry Rogozin -- Deputy Chairman of the Government, and other well-known military, scientists and journalists -- Leonid Ivashov, Alexander Prokhanov, Mikhail Leontiev, Maxim Shevchenko and others. The leadership of this organization sees its primary task in "forming a political-ideological coalition of patriotic statesmen, an imperial front that opposes manipulations carried out in Russian politics by foreign influence centers and their agents inside the country."

Don’t expect Russia to “converge” with the advanced Western economies anytime soon. The ideas of communism, monarchism and social conservatism that are gaining popularity among the Russian public are mobilizing opinion against the collective West (primarily the United States).  They are using an external threat as a foil for their own purposes.

According to the leaders of the movements, clubs and organizations mentioned above, Russia’s values are spiritual, while the West is materialistic. Thus, a confrontation is inevitable. Numerous speeches and interviews show that the current leadership of the country is trying not to interfere in the battles among these three ideological factions and not to take sides. On the one hand, President Putin has to be gentle with the communists, saying that the disintegration of the atheistic USSR is the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the XX century. On the other hand, he stresses that Orthodoxy is the root of the Russian people and state. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new Russia was not accepted into the Western family. Therefore, there are no other ideas, except for a return to the past.

Areg Galstyan – Ph.D., a regular contributor to The National Interest and Forbes. Follow him on twitter.

In Russia, October 25 is the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, as a result of which the monarchical dynasty of the Romanovs was overthrown and the socialist-communist power of the Bolsheviks was established. Despite the fact that it happened a long time ago, this historic event still provokes broad public political discussions. This is primarily because many contemporary problems in Russia and the post-Soviet space are directly related to the consequences of the Bolshevik Revolution. Moreover, without an analysis of these historical processes, it is impossible to understand and appreciate Russia's geopolitical desire to strengthen and expand its influence on the Eurasian space. So, what happened 100 years ago and why does it continue to affect today's realities?

Some historians believe that the Great October Revolution was a natural consequence of social development and the class struggle, given monopoly capitalism. Opponents of such ideas note that the transfer of power to the Bolsheviks occurred because of the weakness of the Provisional Government. Using its indecisiveness, the Bolshevik conspirators received money from Germany and launched mass propaganda and destructive activity. With populist slogans, they promised to end the war, give land to peasants, and the factories and property of the bourgeoisie to workers. They even guaranteed freedom for national minorities to leave the Empire. But today's Russian neo-imperialists propagandize these ideas, emphasizing that the October Revolution was a deeply antipatriotic act since it was committed with the money of a foreign state, for which Russia's national interests were sacrificed.

In fact, Russian politics today have become an arena for confrontation of the three major camps: communist, monarchical and social-conservative. The leaders of these movements agree that Moscow is the third Rome and it should dominate the Eurasian space. However, there are discrepancies about the ideology that should become the driving force of the new empire. Sergey Kurginyan -- one of the leaders of the neo-Marxist movement -- is sure that the revival of the red empire is inevitable. The reason for that is that although the results of the referendum on the collapse of the USSR showed that most people wanted to preserve the Soviet Union, they were illegally ignored. During the event devoted to the 99th anniversary of the Revolution, Gennady Zyuganov -- leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) -- stated a clear goal "to revive the great united power."

The monarchist front is also gaining popularity. According to recent sociological surveys, a third of young people in Russia favour the monarchical form of government in the country. There are 35 % of monarchy supporters among people between 25 and 34. In general, the share of Russian citizens that are not against or support the monarchy is consistently growing: in 2006 - 21%, in 2017 - 28%. The ideologists of monarchism emphasize that Orthodox Russia is the heir of the destroyed Byzantine Empire. The leaders of numerous socio-political movements of this kind believe that after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, Russia became the only real guardian of the Orthodox faith in the world. Further, it predetermined its isolation from the West, tracing Russia's special historical path.

Alexander Dugin, a philosopher and supporter of the monarchy restoration, writes that Byzantium gives a unique dimension to all nations that have adopted Orthodoxy. This dimension is not only narrowly confessional, but also cultural, political, and civilizational. The neo-Byzantine ideological path of Russia is actively promoted through the TV channel called "Tsargrad" (note: the Russian name of Constantinople). It is financed by Konstantin Malafeev, who is known as the "Orthodox oligarch." "Tsargrad TV" positions itself as the first Russian conservative information and analytical channel. It closely cooperates with Russian public and religious organizations, in particular, with the Russian Orthodox Church. In addition, over the past decade, newspapers, magazines and radio stations have been launched. Thus, monarchists, like communists, possess substantial material and human resources for broadcasting their ideas to the general public.

Social-conservative ideas are devised in the "Izborsk Club."  The ideological direction of this organization can be identified as a synthesis of different views of Russian statesmen in a single ideological platform: from socialists and Soviet patriots to monarchists and Orthodox conservatives. There are such influential personalities among the members of the Club as Sergey Glazyev -- adviser to President Putin on economic issues, Dmitry Rogozin -- Deputy Chairman of the Government, and other well-known military, scientists and journalists -- Leonid Ivashov, Alexander Prokhanov, Mikhail Leontiev, Maxim Shevchenko and others. The leadership of this organization sees its primary task in "forming a political-ideological coalition of patriotic statesmen, an imperial front that opposes manipulations carried out in Russian politics by foreign influence centers and their agents inside the country."

Don’t expect Russia to “converge” with the advanced Western economies anytime soon. The ideas of communism, monarchism and social conservatism that are gaining popularity among the Russian public are mobilizing opinion against the collective West (primarily the United States).  They are using an external threat as a foil for their own purposes.

According to the leaders of the movements, clubs and organizations mentioned above, Russia’s values are spiritual, while the West is materialistic. Thus, a confrontation is inevitable. Numerous speeches and interviews show that the current leadership of the country is trying not to interfere in the battles among these three ideological factions and not to take sides. On the one hand, President Putin has to be gentle with the communists, saying that the disintegration of the atheistic USSR is the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the XX century. On the other hand, he stresses that Orthodoxy is the root of the Russian people and state. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new Russia was not accepted into the Western family. Therefore, there are no other ideas, except for a return to the past.

Areg Galstyan – Ph.D., a regular contributor to The National Interest and Forbes. Follow him on twitter.

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