Staunton, Nov. 18 – For the Putin regime, the war against the coronavirus pandemic is increasingly analogous to the tsarist regime’s war with Japan in 1904-1905, according to Anatoly Nesmiyan, who blogs under the screen name El Murid (rusmonitor.com/anatolij-nesmiyan-vojna-s-kovidom-dlya-rossijskogo-rezhima-analogichna-vojne-s-yaponiej-1904-1905-goda.html).
Now as 115 years ago, things began with “a patriotic psychosis” and a profound belief that Russia couldn’t lose and that in a month or two everything would return to normal. “But that isn’t how things worked out.” The tsarist regime lost on every count, organizational, cadres, resources and technologies; and now, the same thing is happening with Putin’s government.
Again, Russians have had to conclude that “the war is lost” and even to say to each other that its goals were “unattainable in principle” and that the regime had shown its incapacity and incompetence. And they have had to watch as again the regime refused to take responsibility and make the population bear even heavier burdens.
What happened in 1905 is of course well-known. “The last drop” was Bloody Sunday; but the real cause of the revolutionary upsurge was not the shooting of workers before the Winter Palace but “the general situation in which the tsarist regime showed its complete bankruptcy” before the country.
After that came a new wave of repression, then war, and then a more all-encompassing revolution.
Today, Nesmiyan continues, “People are tired of this unending war with a virus in which no end is in sight. They want it ended no matter at what cost just as Russians wanted the war to end in 1917 again no matter what the cost. That attitude has cost Putin his core electorate, and it is infecting ever more of the population as well.
“In such a situation, anyone who advances the slogan of ending the war with covid may suddenly turn out to be the man whom the people (not the population but precisely the people) will support without asking any other questions about his program” – just as the Russians supported Lenin when he promised peace, land and bread.
Whether such an individual will emerge, of course, is an open question. But if he – or she – does, the situation in Russia could be radically changed, quite possibly this time around in the direction of fascism. “And as usual until that moment when everything breaks lose, the powers will remain completely certain that everything is as it needs to be.”