The Shadow of February 1917 Hangs Over Putin's Final Year

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Baev, Pavel K. (2007) The Shadow of February 1917 Hangs Over Putin's Final Year, Eurasia Daily Monitor. 12 March.

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The Kremlin’s current motto – “Putinism is here for the long term” – is clearly a self-hypnosis that might stop working without the man himself, so the reluctant “monarch” might still be forced to stay and weather the storm in his house of cards.

The scare of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution has left a deep imprint on the collective psyche of Russia’s bureaucracy, so February 1917 is seen as the “mother” of all “color revolutions.” Solzhenitsyn is exploited as a moral authority who could deny legitimacy to any and all attempts to challenge the established order by mobilizing “street power”. This broad condemnation is directly translated into a readiness to suppress such challenges by force, as was demonstrated in St. Petersburg on March 3, when a 5,000-strong “march of the discontented” was brutally attacked by OMON special police units gathered from neighboring regions. This apparent uncertainty of executive control over the masses relates directly to the theme in the debates on the February 1917 Revolution that Solzhenitsyn elaborated but the pro-Kremlin spin-meisters try to downplay: the decomposition of the ruling regime.

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