Monday, September 26, 2022

Russia Moving from 1914 to 1917 Far More Rapidly than Anyone Imagines, Khots Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 24 – By violating Putin’s unspoken contract with the deep people on whom he relies, his decision to launch mobilization strongly suggests that “everything will now develop according to the scenario of World War I, beginning with ‘the patriotic upsurge” of 1914 and ending three years later with the February revolution,” Aleksandr Khots says.

            But the speed Russia is recapitulating this is far greater than was the case just over a century ago. Putin has fewer resources, and modern war uses up the lives of the cannon fodder far more quickly and changes the lives of their comrades and families more quickly as well, the Russian commentator says (

            Moreover, in Putin’s case compared to Nicholas II’s, “the enormous number of losses among the Putin majority will radically change attitudes in society” by calling into question the current Kremlin ruler’s image as someone who always wins, the most important political resource he has possessed up to now.

            When the war was being fought by professionals, Putin could afford the losses Russia has taken because for the overwhelming majority, the war was far away and not something that affected their lives directly. Now, however, he has committed “a fatal error” by involving a far broader swath of Russians than ever before.

            Those most directly affected, the men called up from their ordinary lives, Khots says, are going to change their attitudes toward the people and leaders who put them in this situation far more quickly than was the case during World War I. It is only a matter of “months,” he says, suggesting that the Russian army will begin to dissolve “sometime in November.”

            “Putin thinks that the line of the front can be maintained until the arrival of ‘the mobilized,’ but this won’t be the case because the Ukrainian armed forces understand this perfectly well,” the commentator says. They are going to attack and attack again in the coming weeks, and Russia is going to take more losses.

            Everything points to a catastrophe for Putin and for Russia, Khots says. Four Putin decisions underly this: his refusal to yield power to someone else, his bet on an imperialist war, his breaking of the social contract less with the people than with the mafia elite, and his implicit contract with the deep people who only want stability, not poverty and funerals.

            Having taken these decision, the commentator says, “Putin has doomed himself to the fate of Ceausescu” – and just how similar his end will be to that of the Romanian dictator will become clear “in a year or two.” But Putin has put Russian on course to a destructive revolution, and that is what he will be remembered for, not for having “raised Russia from its knees.”


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