Russia’s political elite fears the idea of an uprising, making it complicated for the Kremlin to mark the 100thanniversary of the October Revolution.
Officials took a straightforward approach to the 100th anniversary of the bourgeois-democratic February Revolution: it could not be celebrated because it was too democratic. The idea of street protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg is not something that Russian leaders today look upon kindly. Big public demonstrations against rigged elections in 2011-2012 shook Russian President Vladimir Putin to the core. Thus, Russia’s government crafted a simple message about the February Revolution – that it was a bad idea and it did not matter. One Russian newspaper even ran a story alleging that the February Revolution was the “first Maidan,” linking that 1917 event to what Russia’s state-controlled media has described as Ukraine’s “fascist” and “chaotic” movement that toppled its corrupt former president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
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Chris Miller is Assistant Professor of International History at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.