My latest column in the Moscow News , ‘Not 1917, but maybe 1905?‘ picks up where my last blogpost on Moscow’s Praetorians left off, considering the arithmetic of power and also playing the usual historian’s game of looking for parallels. There are some excitable suggestions around that Russia is currently in ‘1917’ mode, but it is important to remember that tsarist may well have been moribund, losing its last plausible opportunity for modernizing reform when Stolypin was assassinated in 1911, but what really brought it down then was the hammer-blow of the First World War. Without such a dramatic systemic shock, inertia and aristocratic self-interest may well have kept it lumbering on for a while longer, a zombie regime dead but still mobile. Russia today is, I think, in distinctly better shape. If anything, I would suggest the parallels are more with 1905, when an accidental massacre triggered a nationwide explosion of violent but incoherence anger and protest, one the state could ultimately suppress piecemeal, but a harbinger of greater troubles ahead. I certainly don’t think Putin is yet willing to abdicate…
Playing the parallels: 1905 not 1917
Posted by Mark Galeotti on December 16, 2011
This blog's author, Dr Mark Galeotti has been researching Russian history and security issues since the late 1980s.
Educated at Cambridge University and the LSE, he is now a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague and coordinates its Centre for European Security. He is also the director of the consultancy firm Mayak Intelligence. Previously he has been Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, head of the History department at Keele University in the UK, an adviser at the British Foreign Office and a visiting professor at MGIMO (Moscow), Charles University (Prague) and Rutgers (Newark), as well as a visiting fellow with the ECFR.
His books include the edited collections 'The Politics of Security in Modern Russia' (Ashgate), 'Russian & Soviet Organized Crime' (Ashgate) and 'Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces' (Osprey) and he is a regular contributor to Jane's Intelligence Review, Oxford Analytica and many other outlets. He is a contributing editor to Business New Europe.
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