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Russia: The 1917 Revolutions and the Ambiguity of Post-Soviet Identity

Armed soldiers and workers in Petrograd in February 1917. Today marks the centennial of the start of upheaval in Petrograd – events now known to history as the February Revolution – which forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate and paved the way for an experiment in Communism that lasted over 74 years. (Photo: Public Domain)

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series
 
Today marks the centennial of the start of upheaval in Petrograd – events now known to history as the February Revolution – which forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate and paved the way for an experiment in Communism that lasted over 74 years. 
 
Russia’s present-day leader, Vladimir Putin, would love nothing more than to be seen as the heir to the power and glory of the halcyon days of the Romanov dynasty that was toppled back in 1917. Yet, the system that Putin presides over, in its shape and form, is more of an outgrowth of Soviet Communism than a link to Russia’s tsarist tradition.
 
This dichotomy is the primary reason why Kremlin ideologues find themselves in an awkward position these days: in the historian Mark Edele’s words, the tumultuous events of 1917 “can neither be fully embraced, nor fully disowned” by today’s Kremlin.
 

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Igor Torbakov is Senior Fellow at Uppsala University and at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm, Sweden.

Russia: The 1917 Revolutions and the Ambiguity of Post-Soviet Identity

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