Sunday, November 5, 2023

Repetition of February 1917 Possible But Fears of a Repeat of October 1917 Make That Less Likely, Kanygin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 2 – Ever more Russians are drawing parallels between the situation that led to the revolutions of 1917 and the situation in Russia today – a hopeless war, a demoralized population, frustrated elites, and a leader who retains unqualified support only among those at the bottom of the social pyramid, Pavel Kanygin says.

            But the investigative journalist says that it is important to recognize the differences between the political situation in 1917 and now and also the differences between the factors that led to the February 1917 revolution and those that led to the October 1917 one, both differences which make any simple repetition less likely (

            The current Russian regime has made any challenge to itself less likely by eliminating any alternative elites that a disgruntled population might coalesce around unlike the tsar who created the Duma which became the focus of opposition in February 1917, and Putin has been more successful in promoting the idea that for Russians, the situation remains good.

            Moreover, while the Putin regime has not blocked the possibility of a military revolt, much as Nicholas II faced and then decided to abdicate after his senior commanders said they did not support him because of his failures to clean up the rear and support the army in the field and then refused to send troops from the front to suppress the soldiers in Petrograd.

            The recent Prigozhin rising and changes in command in Ukraine make it possible to imagine a military revolt in Russia in the name of better prosecuting the war, Kanygin says. “But it is impossible to imagine to whom the military could come and offer the power they had achieved.”

            “On the one hand, this theoretically saves Putin,” he continues. “But on the other, after any such rising did occur, he would find himself not in the situation of Nicholas II whom the Provisional Government guarded and wanted to send to England; but in that of Muammar Qaddafi” who enjoyed no such protection and was executed.

            Moreover, in the Russian case, given Putin’s policies of eliminating alternative centers of power, any repeat of the February 1917 revolution would not stop there. And consequently, both those who might conduct such a rising and those opposed to it will be focusing in the first instance on how to ensure that a repeat of October 1917 doesn’t occur.

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