Counter-revolution

As we mark the 100th anniversary today of the Great October Socialist Revolution, pundits are laying out what they believe are the lessons of the tragic events which befell Russia and its people in 1917. As my contribution, I would like to draw attention to something a little different: namely, that in Russia revolution means counter-revolution.

The Bolsheviks’ usurpation of power in November 1917 didn’t end the political struggle within Russia. Rather, it intensified it. Counter-revolutionary groups sprung up throughout the country, and before long civil war resulted. The violence which followed inflicted enormous damage on Russia. Bolshevik supporters who imagined that their party’s coup would lead to ‘peace, bread, and land’ proved to be cruelly deceived.

За_единую_Россію
The White Warrior slays the Bolshevik dragon

And so it often is with revolutions. The revolutionaries like to imagine that all they have to do is topple the old order and all will be well. They will establish themselves firmly in authority. They don’t imagine that a significant portion of the population might object to their unconstitutional seizure of power and take up arms against them, and that the revolution, however well-intentioned it may be, will have terrible results. But when a self-appointed elite seizes control in this way, people very often do object, and on occasions do so vehemently enough to do something about it.

We can see this in Ukraine. Those who jumped up and down on Maidan thought that if they toppled the existing regime everybody would just accept what they had done. But, of course, they didn’t. A portion of the Ukrainian population took up arms against the new government, leading to the loss of Crimea and much of Donbass, as well as to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars of physical damage.

Now, I don’t think for one instance that there will be a repetition of Maidan in Russia. I’m one of those who doesn’t believe that the ‘Putin regime’ is about to fall. But let’s just imagine that such a thing could happen, and consider how the Great October Socialist Revolution led to the Civil War, and how Maidan led to anti-Maidan. Mark my words, if there were to be another revolution in Russia, there would be another counter-revolution. There are more than enough modern-day Black Hundreds and lesser opponents of Western liberalism to ensure that any attempt to impose a Western liberal order on Russia by revolutionary means would be met by force. The Russian anti-Maidan would make the Ukrainian version look like a teddy bear’s picnic. It would not be pretty.

Revolutionaries, of course, will say that counter-revolution isn’t their fault; it’s the counter-revolutionaries’ fault. But my point here isn’t to say whether counter-revolution is right or wrong (although regular readers will probably recognize that I tend to be on the counter-revolutionary side). Rather, my point is to say that after revolution, counter-revolution is inevitable, and if it were to happen in Russia, it would be horribly destructive.

It’s something those who call for ‘regime change’, not just in Russia but in a host of other countries, should bear in mind.

4 thoughts on “Counter-revolution”

  1. I have to echo akarlins assessment here.
    And given that I am a east german sovok equivalent, well, we dont agree very often.

    My impression, from reading much of the EU acquis and the specific annexes in the Ukraine EU association treaty, is that Ukraine was not even supposed to become a “democratic bulwark against Russian aggression” but rather a “zone of economically burned scorched earth” that supports the actual “democratic bulwark against Russian aggression” (Poland).

    You see, if a Maidanist is unhappy about this, the EUrocrats response will be something like “havent read the fine print did you?”.

    I mean, economically speaking, Ukraines foreign trade will be (more de jure then de facto) subject to a veto from Brussels when it comes to a number of key Ukrainian export items (like armaments), while Ukraine gets exactly zero influence whatsorever in Brussel. It also does not get trade access to the EU, but has to open its own markets to EU products.

    In addition, given that the EU has everything it could possibly want de jure, Ukraine has nothing to offer in return for actual market access to the EU.

    Dontsovs “creed” of “we have to become a part of the west, whatever the price” effectively means that the west does not have to offer anything in return for Ukrainian vasallage.

    I occassionally try to put myselfs into the shoes of the Maidan guys, and do a “replace Poroshenko with Nikolai Machiavillenko” thought exercizes. Thing is, for the vast majority of clever schemes that a Nikolai Machiavillenko come up with, the EU association treaty is a major showstopper.

    Stuff like: Use (assume Machiavillenko starts in 2014) existing military industrial ties with Russia to steal as much Russian technology as possible and then sell all of it to China (thus raising revenue, reducing Russian revenue, establishing credentials of independence with the Chinese and sowing distrust between Russia and China) would be nixed because Ukraine now has to follow the EUs military trade embargoes.

    Using foreign customers for Ukrainian military hardware (which would be a neccesity to fund a military industrial complex capable of perhaps sustaining some kind of deterrence potential)? Well, you see, the unique selling point for buying Ukrainian armaments was that Ukraine is not a threat to any nation other then itself, and that pre Maidan Ukraine did not have enemies, so buying Ukrainian had some pretty good points. Well, no more thanks to that agreement.

    You cant even bullshit people into pretending to be a good jumping point into the European market, because the people who are relevant in this contexts are either people who read fineprints, or people who have lawyers which read fineprints.

    In general, it is really hard to get a payraise, ever, if you at one point agree to work for free. Which is what the Maidanauts did.

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  2. What happened in the Ukraine was not a “revolution” (of “гiдность” or whatever), because there was no change of the socio-political formation. It was coup – one representative of certain oligarchs was replaced by another representative of a different group of oligarchs. All rhetoric that EuroMaidan signifies a qualitative “Ukraine’s return to the European Civilization” (c), is just that – BS.

    So Maidan (i.e. pro-Western coup) in Russia will only mean not a qualitative change of anything (Navalny, if you listen to him, is no liberal or democrat by any stretch – if anything, his cult of personality is much more real than Putin’s), but just a desire by a group of disaffected “former Regime personalities” and perpetually unsatisfied group of demshizoids to get to the trough.

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  3. Paul, if Kerensky had had the brains God gave a goose, he’d have made a separate peace in March 1917. Considering the pressure the Central Powers were under at the time, a deal following the existing front lines might have been get table. The thing is, if you’re in a losing situation, your leverage is much more likely to decline than to increase

    So the revolutionary situation in October wasn’t the Bolshie’s fault. They just had a clue that the war was unsustainable for Russia.

    The rest of ’em were nothing more than puppets for Anglo/French/Americans who all wanted Russia back in a ruinous war.

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