Friday book #20: Russian Revolution

Next on my shelf is a small book (84 pages) by Richard Pipes, entitled Three Whys of the Russian Revolution. The questions which Pipes asks are:

  • Why did Tsarism fail?
  • Why did the Bolsheviks triumph?
  • Why did Stalin succeed Lenin?

Roughly speaking, his answers are as follows:

  • The Tsarist state was weak and unable to cope with the strains of the First World War.
  • The Bolsheviks didn’t triumph because they had majority support (they didn’t), but because they were more determined, more organized, and more ruthless than their opponents.
  • Stalin’s ascent was inevitable. Rather than distorting Lenin’s legacy, Stalin carried it to its logical conclusion.

three whys

24 thoughts on “Friday book #20: Russian Revolution”

  1. “Russian Revolution”

    Arrrrgh! Why, just why? What’s wrong with these people who write about Russian history? Are their ideological biases preventing them from making any distinction between the bourgeoisie-democratic February and socialistic October Revolutions?

    In the end we have people, who only know “popular history”, claiming that “Lenin toppled the Czar” and not knowing a thing about the Interim government.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul,

    One should be cautious about commenting about a book one has not read. But I presume that this volume is in part an attack on the views of historians such as Stephen F. Cohen and Moshe Lewin, who have argued that there were a range of possible outcomes in the late ‘Twenties, and there was not any kind of ineluctable logic leading to the route Stalin took.

    Without taking a view on this – and it is a long time since I looked at the literature – it is I think worth mentioning that the assessment by Richard Pipes of the views of late Soviet leadership on the role of military power turned out to be absolutely and totally wrong – with practical consequences which are dogging us to this day.

    I touched on some of the issues involved in comments on your piece on the volume on Soviet ‘Spetsnaz’ by Vladimir Rezun, aka ‘Viktor Suvorov’, back in March.

    (See .)

    However, it seems worth reverting to the issues involved, in particular as an obituary appeared in the ‘Telegraph’ yesterday of one of the figures who decisively exposed Pipes as an ignoramus utterly out of his depth in matters to do with military strategy – Commander Michael MccGwire, RN, to give him his service title. The obituary appears to be largely based on his ‘Wikipedia’ entry.

    (For these, see–obituary/ and .)

    Unfortunately, both are not entirely error-free.

    It may seem discourteous simply to repost comments I made on Colonel Lang’s ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis’ blog back in September 2008. But then the fact that the dangers involved in policies based on the readings of Soviet military strategy by figures like Pipes have been apparent for years seems a matter of some moment in itself.

    Also, the remarks touched on the background to Stalin’s embrace of collectivisation and forced industrialisation.

    Discussing the risks involved in current Western policies then, I wrote:

    “To see the scale of the danger, it is necessary to look back at the evolution of the role of the ‘Red SIOP’ first in Soviet then in Russian strategic planning. When the first edition of the study ‘Military Strategy’ published under the name of Marshall Sokolovsky was published in 1962, it made no bones about the centrality of preparation for all-out nuclear war in Soviet strategic planning. A central planning assumption was that war with the West would inevitably be nuclear – and the optimal strategy was judged to be strategic nuclear pre-emption, which entailed a strong emphasis on the need to gain the advantages of surprise.

    “As they began to digest the implications of the replacement by NATO of ‘massive retaliation’ by ‘flexible response’, which had happened the year before ‘Military Strategy’ was published, Soviet strategists began to contemplate the possibility that it might be possible to avoid escalation to all out nuclear conflict. The change was apparent in the third edition of ‘Military Strategy’, published in 1968. (On this, see Appendix A, ‘Identifying the December 1966 Decision’, in Michael MccGwire’s 1987 study Brookings study Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy.)

    “Some time before Richard Pipes published his famous 1977 Commentary article entitled ‘Why the Soviet Union Believes It Could Fight and Win a Nuclear War’ the Soviets had come to think not only that it might be possible to keep a war conventional – but that it was impossible to ‘win’ a nuclear war in any remotely meaningful sense.

    “Responding to Pipes in his 1978 paper ‘Mutual Deterrence and Strategic Arms Limitation in Soviet Policy’, Raymond Garthoff identified a shift from 1969 onwards from pre-emption to launch on warning in Soviet textual writings. Subsequently, he established that a secret directive had been issued in the name of the Central Committee, some time in 1973-4, instructing that military plans should be made on the basis that the Soviet Union would not be the first to use nuclear weapons. (On this and other evidence about the Soviet shift to ‘no first use’, see Chapter 3 of Garthoff’s 1990 study ‘Deterrence and the Revolution in Soviet Military Thinking’, entitled ‘Prevention of Nuclear War in Soviet Policy.’)

    “By the time this study was written, an enterprising graduate student called Kent D. Lee had, with Garthoff’s encouragement, obtained the declassification of the entire back file of the confidential General Staff journal Military Thought, as well as other previously classified materials. What emerged was – to quote Garthoff’s 1990 study – there was ‘no strategic doctrine for waging intercontinental nuclear war in the available military strategic literature, open or closed.’

    “In grasping what happened after 1985, one needs to go back to the origins of Soviet strategic thinking in the immediate post-revolutionary period – a subject on which invaluable contributions have been made by two scholars associated with the U.S. Army, Jacob Kipp and Bruce Menning (both currently I think working at Fort Leavenworth.) For relatively brief and eminently readable discussions by these two, see their contributions to the 2005 volume Historical Perspectives of the Operational Art, published by the Army’s Center of Military History, and available at

    “After 1917, the general staff of the old Imperial Russian Army split. Most joined the Whites, but a minority, which included some very able figures, threw in their lot with the Bolsheviks and taught them to fight – enabling, for example, the political commissar Mikhail Frunze to become the general who defeated Wrangel. The result was a curious mixture which survived right through to the end of the Soviet period, in which very highly rigorous technical military analysis, heavily indebted to the Prussian General Staff tradition, was combined with a highly simplistic ideological framework.

    “Back in 1989, when making programmes on the so-called Gorbachev ‘new thinking’ for BBC Radio, a colleague and I interviewed the military specialist most closely associated with the ‘new thinkers’, General-Mayor Valentin Larionov, then about to retire from his professorship at the General Staff Academy. One of the first things he told us was that, to understand the ‘new thinking’, one had to go back to the realisation by Soviet strategists in the Seventies that it was not possible to win a nuclear war. He also talked a great deal about a theorist of the Twenties called Aleksandr Svechin, who he told us had been ‘repressed’ under Stalin.

    “Unfortunately, I was then unfamiliar with Jacob Kipp’s work. Subsequently however I came across the translation of Svechin’s 1927 study Strategy, published in 1992 with introductory material by Kipp and Larionov. The editor was the same Kent D. Lee who had secured the declassification of the Military Thought archive. From Lee I learnt that Larionov ‘comes to us already distinguished as perhaps the most outstanding Soviet military intellectual of the post-war period’ – in particular one of the ‘fundamental forces’ behind the Sokolovsky ‘Military Thought’ study. So the ‘peacenik’ general we had interviewed that day in Moscow had earlier been one of the foremost Soviet nuclear strategists.

    ‘From Kipp’s introduction, I learned about the fundamental argument between Svechin and Tukhachevski. The former stressed two fundamental (if not infrequently ignored) strands in Clausewitz – the strength of the defence and the importance of the subordination of military strategy to political strategy. His strategy was the military corollary of the New Economic Policy, with its emphasis on the maintenance of the alliance between the workers and the peasantry. By contrast, Tukhachevski was one of those who saw motorisation and mechanisation both as defining the threat to the Soviet Union and as recreating the possibility of the kind of rapid and decisive victories achieved by Napoleon or the elder Moltke.

    “The conclusion Tukhachevsky drew, as Kipp brings out, was that there was a need for the ‘“complete militarization” of the national economy to provide the new instruments of mechanized warfare.’ This proposal was turned down by Stalin in 1927. In 1930, however he changed tack – and the result was forced industrialisation, collectivisation, and the terror, to which not only Svechin but Tukhachevsky fell victim.

    ‘What I also only only dimly saw then were the multifarious implications of the total collapse of the credibility of the simplistic ideological framework in which Soviet thinking had developed – a collapse which was actually visible at the time. Among other things, the coherence of Svechin’s strategic concept had depended upon the premise that the Soviet Union had no reason to fear attack from developed industrial states. It was when following the onset of the depression in 1929 that Stalin abandoned Bukharin’s theses on the stabilisation of capitalism that Tukhachevsky’s conceptions triumphed decisively.

    “In the late Eighties and early Nineties, Russians were grappling with the fundamental question of how far the security problems of the Soviet Union were self-inflicted. Involved was both the question of how enmity to it was product of communism – and also a range of specific questions about Stalin’s external policies: in particular, how far they were responsible for the triumph of Hitler, the unleashing of the Second World War, and the Cold War.

    “Some people I think were in two minds. I vividly remember Larionov, repudiating arguments put forward by Brzezinski in his 1986 study Game Plan, remarking drily – ‘Brzezinski – our friend – a Pole.’ But I also learned, from an interview done for the 1999 PBS programme ‘Race for the Superbomb’, that in 1945 – only eighteen, although he had been wounded at the Battle of Kursk – Larionov had been present at the famous meeting between Russian and American troops on the Elbe. And he clearly blamed the disappointment of the high hopes of that time on Stalin.


    “This was I think a very common response among disillusioned communists at the time. How far the disillusion is now on the other foot comes out in a recent article on the implications of the Georgian War by one of the erstwhile civilian ‘new thinkers’, Sergei Karaganov. He writes:

    “‘At one time, during the Communist times of the weakening and decay of the USSR, members of the dissident intelligentsia and simply intellectuals were asking the strictly speculative question: what if the country throws off the stranglehold of Communist ideology and the socialist economy and becomes capitalist and free? Most believed that a free and capitalist world would welcome us with open arms. A minority of these unrestrained romantics said that a strong capitalist and economically more effective and free Russia would cause no less opposition than the Soviet Union.

    “‘It appears that the latter came out the “winners” in the argument.

    “‘The basis of the cold war was more geopolitics than ideology.”


    “Like General Mahmut Akhmetovich Gareev, the evolution of whose views I discussed in a comment on earlier thread, Karaganov has come – with great reluctance – to accept that Russia must rely on Western-style notions of “nuclear deterrence”. He writes:

    “‘We have a stronger but still relatively weak army. It must be made stronger and made elite, so that it always works as it did in Ossetia. It is perfectly obvious that in the event another “cold war” begins – it will be necessary to raise the flexibility and political feasibility of nuclear forces. I am saying this with bitterness. I so much wanted to move the nuclear club onto the sidelines of history for good.’

    “It is worth noting here that Larionov and other Soviet strategic thinkers had – like the leading Western expert on nuclear command and control, Bruce Blair, and also MccGwire and Garthoff, come to be deeply concerned about the risks of accidental nuclear war. (See Chapter Four of Garthoff’s 1990 study, entitled ‘Gorbachev’s New Thinking.’) Rightly in my view, these people were deeply dubious about the long-term stability of MAD relationships in situations of acute political and military tension.

    “That the upcoming confrontation may be more, not less, dangerous than the Cold War is the argument of a recent research note by Vlad Sobell of the London-based Daiwa Institute of Research, entitled ‘Washington blunders into an unwinnable campaign against Russia.’ It also provides a thought-provoking – if not necessarily accurate – assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the two sides.


    “When I see Sarah Palin announcing that it may be necessary to fight a Russia which is now actively planning for nuclear first-use, in order to enable Georgia to incorporate against their will populations which are only part of the country because of arbitrary decisions by Joseph Stalin, words simply fail me. Perhaps somewhere down in hell, that old Georgian mafioso is splitting his sides laughing.”

    In the closing years of the Cold War and the years that followed, Michael MccGwire spent a great deal of time and energy attempting to prevent us heading down this road. But, unfortunately, people chose to believe that Richard Pipes and his followers had got the Cold War right.


    1. Indeed, Pipes is of very different view to Cohen, who thinks that Bukharin represented a genuine, more humane, alternative version of communism. For Pipes, Bolshevik rule was always founded on violence, arising out of a determination not to share power with anyone. Stalinist repression flowed naturally out of Leninist repression and the theories of Marxism-Leninism. As for Pipes’ role in the Cold War, I can’t really comment as I don’t know much about it, beyond that he played a role in the infamous ‘Team B’ which claimed that the CIA had greatly underestimated Soviet military capabilities, and which then produced inflated estimates of its own, thereby encouraging increases in US military spending and further Cold War tensions. I have to say that I am sympathetic to Pipes ‘ view of Bolshevism and the Russian Revolution, but not to the Team B stuff, which was clearly wrong.


      1. “Stalinist repression flowed naturally out of Leninist repression and the theories of Marxism-Leninism.”

        Lots of things could be called “repressions”. In this cases it’s called either “class warfare” or “execution of the existing legislature”. Take your pick.


      2. It’s not only Pipes – Kołakowski in his Main Currents of Marxism (one of the largest monographs on that subject) wrote a few chapters on the controversial relationship between the marxist theory and Bolshevik practice and came to a conclusion that there was indeed a causal relation. He provides detailed discussion in the book but the general line that comes out from the sources (Marx, Lenin etc) was that the Marxian line of socialism was itself more inclined towards violence than the others (e.g. Kautsky) and it assumed a “total reconstruction” of society, which couldn’t have looked any different than it looked if executed by a group sufficiently determined to get it “right”.


    2. “After 1917, the general staff of the old Imperial Russian Army split. Most joined the Whites, but a minority, which included some very able figures, threw in their lot with the Bolsheviks”

      If we are talking about Generals, who came from the Stavka, then this statement is not entirely correct. 385 former czarist Generals served in the ranks of RKKA during the Civil War. 226 of them served in the Stavka. About 400 of former czarist Generals served in various White Movement armies, and a significant minority decided to either to emigrate or joined newly former nationalist republics (like the inner circle of hetman Skoropadski or Mannerheim). So ve are talking about 42% vs 45% split, not about “minority” which decided to threw their lot with the Bolsheviks.

      If we are talking about officers (not only generals) who graduated from the Academy of the General Staff of Russian Army, then the split is 679 in the Red Army vs 648 in the White Armies (see articles by V.V. Kamisnky “Русские генштабисты в 1917—1920 годах. Итоги изучения” and “Брат против брата: офицеры-генштабисты в 1917—1920 годах”). More so – after the end of the Civil War 93 of the former graduates of the Academy either returned to the USSR or switched sides and joined the RKKA.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “More ruthless” is a distortion. Terror was first started by whites and was equally “ruthless” throughout Civil War. What was really important – Bolsheviks wanted power, knew how to use it and had clear program while Whites were marching under idea “let’s first win and then we will see what to do”

    Though I guess all that is common knowledge here


      1. I heard that son doesn’t answer for his father, but surely the father has to be, at least somewhat, responsible for his son… There has to be some serious problem with racism in that family…


  4. Personally, while I am a communist, I cannot dispute that communism has a number of religious features.
    I have a bit of a background in machine learning, and if I would try to make a machine learn Russian from communist sources, it would, depending on what it starts with, probably believe that “Trotzkist” means “heretic”.

    Compared to most religions, communism has some unusual (for a western religion at least) features. First, there is no recourse to the Metaphysical, nor is there a specified life after death. This in a way means that rewards have to happen in this life, not in the next. Second, due to its emphasis of being scientific, it is possible to “disprove” it to an extent that would be impossible with a western religion. Third, it is very new historically speaking, so it does not have literally milennia old institutions to fall back too.
    As far as syncretism goes, communism is pretty varied. IIRC Lenin did attempt to explore ways of reconciling communism with Islam for example, and eventually some kind of syncretic communism-christianity happened (todays KPRF for example only took 100 years or so 🙂 ). You could also place liberation theology in that context, although they are more socialist-christian then communist christian.

    Concerning the situation at hand, the communist basically tried to forcibly convert Russia from orthodox christianity to communism.

    Given the degree of mutual hostility, the near apocalyptic situation in Russia etc. massive violence was imho inevitable.

    In a way, one can claim that Russia got lucky with a 3 ish years, as opposed to 30ish years, civil war.

    This is not really an indictment of communism and more an explanation of human nature, there were a few situations in which communism got power non violently, and completely unsurprisingly these communist did not purge etc. after they got power (Kerala in India for example). That the violence that a government commits after seizing power is somewhat proportional to the violence that was inflicted upon it during its ascension isnt exactly surprising either, although there are of course massive exceptions. F.e. Hitler was hugely violent despite having been treated with kids gloves by the establishment he eventually ursurped.


  5. “Personally, while I am a communist, I cannot dispute that communism has a number of religious features…”

    Can’t speak for the communism and its various branches here, but the Soviet society had, IMO, lots of Puritan features – without god, of course and predestination. This cult like devotion to the Labor and Work, the approval of self-improvement and education (for the betterment of the community) and, most of all, the “puritanical” mode of inter-personal relationship (“We don’t have sex in the USSR – we have love!” (c)).

    At the same time – as I point out elsewhere – even in the “vanilla” Christianity there are lots of stuff that is simply incompatible with the nowadays ruling liberal-democratic market capitalist “End-Of-History” concept, that firmly grips the West ideology-wise. While a lot of communists, I suppose, might find the following largely sympathetic to their cause:

    “Then the King will say to those on His right, `Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
    `For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
    Then the righteous will answer Him, `Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
    `And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
    `When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
    The King will answer and say to them, `Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
    Then He will also say to those on His left, `Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
    I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
    Then they themselves also will answer, `Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’
    Then He will answer them, `Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
    These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    – Matthew 25:34-46″


    1. As far as I remember Soviet school textbooks on history and History Encyclopedia I used to have were pretty sympathetic to early christians. Absolutely different attitude was to when Church established itself and became official.


    2. If anything, it was socialism that picked some elements from Christianity, such as equality and mercy (public hospitals, schools etc). But apart from that everything else is different. Christianity is deeply individualist with human dignity being the primary value. Socialism is collectivist, with individuals being merely unimportant parts components of the masses. In Christianity individuals have free will, in socialism everyone is driven by economics and objective laws of history. Christianity is deeply spiritual and metaphysical, socialism is materialist and pseudo-scientific.


      1. I disagree. What do you understand by “Christianity is deeply individualist” and “human dignity being the primary value”? As I say elsewhere, individualism is far from a Christian ideal. Individualism, the idea that people are inherently separate from each other and therefore have no responsibility to each other, runs counter to just about everything in the Bible. Individualism is opposed to Christianity, but all enlightenment ideologies share in it.

        The perversion of individualism (selfishness/self-will and indolence/immaturity) is systemic to the whole of the humanity, and not what is meant when speaking of our individuality.

        We are born into this world naked and helpless not as a community, but as individuals. As well, at the time of the Final Judegement will stand in Judgment before Creator naked and helpless, not as a communtiy but individuals… Maturity (being able to be responsible for oneself and one’s actions) and reliance upon God (doing justice, showing loving kindness, and humility before Him) are the hallmarks of the redeemed individual in Christianity


        The very fact that we are born into this world naked and helpless, and that we are therefore required by our very nature to rely on others for our existence, is precisely the reason why individualism is fundamentally wrong.

        Human individuals cannot exist in the absence of human communities. We are utterly dependent on each other.

        Even people, who go to live alone in the wilderness as hermits, are able to do this only after they have been raised to adulthood by a human community.

        In every historical period, Christianity calls upon its adherents to support the economic system that promotes the greatest degree of equality and solidarity, and the least degree of exploitation, selfishness, and pride. In modern times, that system is socialism.

        Besides, I think you are mixing up the “Scientific Materialism” with socialism as it is.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In short, in Christianity there’s an individual that has an immortal soul and inherent dignity, even if he or she is a part of a society. In revolutionary socialism (communism), “one is a nonsense, one is zero”, as nicely laid by Mayakovsky. Socialism is deeply utilitarian – you can sacrifice one class for another, while in Christianity every single life is sacred, even of an enemy.


      3. But the purpose of religions is obvious… You have an immortal soul – behave (don’t kill, don’t steal, etc), be humble, don’t make troubles, and you’ll enjoy it in the afterlife. Opium for the masses… Revolutionary Marxism is an idealistic project for this world. And like in any other project of this world, it has to deal with human resources…


      4. “In short, in Christianity there’s an individual that has an immortal soul and inherent dignity”

        Define “dignity”.

        ” “one is a nonsense, one is zero”, as nicely laid by Mayakovsky.”

        However “nicely”, a Russian poet of the Silver Age is not a expert on the theoretical Marxism-Leninism or socialism.

        “Socialism is deeply utilitarian – you can sacrifice one class for another, while in Christianity every single life is sacred, even of an enemy.”

        I disagree with that. Socialism talks about class struggle – and clearly supports one class over other(s). “Elimination as a class” doens’t mean “line dem basterd against the wall and then shoot ’em up”. Sometimes for elemination of a class yu need only to take its priviledges – or property.

        Now, I understand that in the West propery is sacred – sometimes even more so than human life or dignity. That’s why so much demonizing and vilification of the socialism.

        As for the Christianity and the sacredness of life – unfortunately, the Western version of Christianity invented this sick concept known as the “just war”, which wil later mutate into the Crusades (i.e. the more “frags” you score the better your chances to get to the heaven), and which ultimately transformed into the “I have to kill them to free them” logic of the Vietnam war.


      5. I’m not really one to “define” human dignity but I can share an existing definition. I’m quite skeptical about how Vatican or any other institutional church was following the Christian doctrine in the past (thus agreeing about the Crusades etc), but they at least have it all pretty well documented (and pope Francis gives some hopes for change).

        As it comes to the revolutionary socialism there was a strong bias towards violence – IIRC Marx argued that because the bourgeoisie won’t surrender, a physical elimination of the whole class is unavoidable necessity. This is actually why he so strongly opposed any “evolutionary” changes (read: Kautsky) – they wouldn’t give a chance to completely eradicate the “old society”. Now, this part, and thus the whole revolutionary socialism, is IMHO completely incompatible with any Christian doctrine.


      6. “I’m not really one to “define” human dignity but I can share an existing definition.”

        That’s rather… Catholic definition. Not quite all encompassing, and surely different from what some modern people understand by the word “dignity” nowadays. Which is one you subscribe to? The Catholic one or the modern secular?

        The Orthodox Church uses the word “dignity” in completely different context. You can read sentences like “Someone was raised to the dignity of Archbishop”, meaning the rank in church hierarchy. Dignity as something belonging to the Saints, Apostles and Mother of God is also pretty common. Finally, there is emphasize that one can live one’s life with dignity while in poverty.

        How this runs against the concept of socialism?

        “and pope Francis gives some hopes for change”

        Change in what direction? So far it looks like change in the direction of pandering to the current mainstream narrative in the attempt to make the Catholic Church more “up-to-date”, “hip”, not more, you know, actually Christian.

        “As it comes to the revolutionary socialism there was a strong bias towards violence – IIRC Marx argued that because the bourgeoisie won’t surrender, a physical elimination of the whole class is unavoidable necessity. This is actually why he so strongly opposed any “evolutionary” changes (read: Kautsky) – they wouldn’t give a chance to completely eradicate the “old society”. Now, this part, and thus the whole revolutionary socialism, is IMHO completely incompatible with any Christian doctrine.”

        Christianity and Christians are not tree-hugging pacifist hippies. War (including the class war) has been always a part of the human life. Yes, killing fellow humans is a sin. Lots of other things are also sins. Sometimes shit must be done. It doesn’t make it less shitty, it doesn’t absolve you from the sin just because you are doing it “For the Greater Good” or whatever reasoning you will invent.

        The key in the Christianity is not in not doing something and thus living a life of sea cucumber, in the vain hope that this “not doing anything wrong” will miraculously gift you with a ticket to the Paradise. It lies in being proactive and doing stuff. Yes, that means physically taking the stuff from the bourgeoisie, and when/if they rebel and start sending White Armies against you – kill them. And while Marx talked from the purely theoretical angle (and he had only rather uninspiring examples of Revolution of 1848 and Paris Commune of 1871), the October Revolution demonstrated that the physical elimination of the exploitive classes is not necessary. Russophobic and anti-Sovietist propaganda harps endlessly how “everyone” was shot by the brutal, irrational “Juden-Bolsheviks”, and how all executed were so much better (genetically and intellectually) than ordinary Russians. That’s simply not true.


    1. With all due respect, Srdjan, but these theme for Foreign Affairs bi-monthly (rrrrrrrrrrrrRusssssia is bad!) and the article itself looks crappy. Besides – it’s behind a paywall. From what I can read, I see self-contradicting cliche-filled sentences in the very first paragraph:

      “With Russia’s economy sagging, support for the government falling, and even President Vladimir Putin’s sky-high approval ratings beginning to come down to earth, there has been no shortage of speculation about Russia’s political stability. Some argue that a collapse of the Putin regime is imminent, whereas others are more cautious. A recent Foreign Affairs survey of experts found that most believed that political change in Russia was not on the immediate horizon, but there were plenty of dissenters—and, at any rate, our ability to predict political events in Russia has never been great.”

      – “Russias economy sagging”? Hey, why nt go full Obama here and call it “torn to pieces” why you are at it! OTOH, how can you will describe the Ukrainian economy then?

      – “Support for the government falling”. Yes, we must completely believe this unsourced claim because, because, uhm… Because we must BELIVE in the “crussiaonality” approach without asking questions?

      – “and even President Vladimir Putin’s sky-high approval ratings beginning to come down to earth”. From 86 to 82. Wow. New meaning to the “down to earth” – “still sky high and object of envy for the Leaders of the Free World ™”

      – “Some argue that a collapse of the Putin regime is imminent, whereas others are more cautious” – meaning that they still predict the collapse of the regime as tought by the Holy Truth of “crussionality”.

      – “our ability to predict political events in Russia has never been great” – but we will do it anyway for a hefty gesheft, while satisfying all possible fears/stereotypes of our paymasters. Kremlinology 101 – when this world is too modern and cynical for alchemy and astrology.


    2. Your former prof invents the term “personalist regime” (or at least I haven’t seen it before). I don’t understand it. They have elections. The ‘person’ can lose. I understand that the ‘person’ has an advantage (‘resource’, as they say), but that’s true for any political system. It maybe true that in RF the ‘person’ himself controls this ‘resource’, whereas in the west media-controlling oligarchs control the ‘resource’, but I fail to see any huge significance in it…

      So, why is this “personalist regime” considered less ‘democratic’ than what I would call “oligarchical regime”? It seems to me, it’s actually more democratic, because it’s more open, more honest…


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