Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

19 April 2017. To Ensure the Future, We Must Respect the Past

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Some people such as Victor Potapov want to “revise” the past, to “erase” people and events that they find distasteful. This is utterly wrong, crackbrained, and ludicrous in the extreme. We must keep covenant with all our past… with the Imperial legacy… with the Soviet legacy… we must keep covenant with both, or we create a monstrous golem, a Frankenstein of our own creation. Some people like Potapov are from families that were “somebodies” in Tsarist Russia, who were better off than most. So, the Soviet history and legacy are anathema to them because their families lost their “golden teat”. One can tell the measure of their character by seeing that they didn’t scruple at aiding the enemies of the Rodina in hopes of restoring their fortunes.

The people to follow are Tsar Nikolai and President Lukashenko, who say the same thing in essence. “Keep faith with ALL of our past. Honour everything that was good… reflect on everything that was bad”. That’s more healthy than the anti-Stalin rants of Potapov (and those like him). Keep it focused… the anti-communist warriors will be out in force this year. Meet them head-on and don’t fear… after all, our Holy Patriarch offered sincere condolences to the Castro family on the occasion of Fidel Castro’s death. He showed much more humanity and Christian love than did the loudmouth “conservatives” who criticised him for doing such. Our Church isn’t rightwing…

BMD

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Great Split

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Note well that the clans that make up the “Golden 400” all had a hand in “February”… thus, they all had a hand in bringing in “October”. Therefore, all their rants against the USSR (or any personality in it) are bootless and toothless. If it wasn’t for the perfidy and treason of these clans, there’d be no revolution. Think on that… however, they remain convinced of their goodness and innocence and refuse to confront their complicity in the subsequent events.

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Editor:

The leading lights of the “Golden 400”, the leading elements of both the OCA and the ROCOR, mostly come from clans that instigated or supported the February revolt. That is, they SUPPORTED the tsar’s imprisonment, making it easier to kill him, which did happen a year later. That is, without the treason of the Potapov, Golitsyn, and Bennigsen clans (and such subsidiary clans as the Schmemanns), there would’ve been no Stalin. That’s a meaty reflection. It makes Victor Potapov’s rants against Stalin rather empty, don’t they? Recall that none of the major White figures wanted to restore the monarchy… in essence, they were all “Februaryists” (in a play on “Decembrist”).

Here’s the irony… the children of those who made the tsar’s death possible canonised him in the 80s of the last century. Note well that they expressed no repentance for that. That’s no small beer…

BMD

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The Revolution, which broke out a century ago in Russia, is a most controversial and multifaceted phenomenon that exerted a powerful influence on the fate of humanity as well as Russia. Thus, we can justifiably refer to the events triggered by February 1917 to as “the Great Russian Revolution”. Professor A V Lubkov, Rector of Moscow State Pedagogical University, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Science, Doctor of Historical Sciences, touched on the events of the February Revolution.

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It was a catastrophe, a tragedy for the Russian national identity of that period. It gave rise to a negative perception of the revolution, as any calamity brings about root-and-branch change, a break with the past, a painful departure from tradition. In 1917, the split affected both government and people. Unsurprisingly, many Russian scholars pondering pondered over the phenomenon turn to the February events, not just October, as they see them as a trigger for the collapse of traditional Russian nationhood. However, it doesn’t imply that we should paint only a grim picture of the Revolution and portray it as “the end of history”. History can’t endure standstill; it’s a flowing stream. Dialectically speaking, any of the most difficult periods still created opportunities for further development. It’s the case here as well. However, the tragedy of 1917 offered prospects for the next stage of Russian history, the steps taken as part of the “Soviet project”.

I consider the events of February 1917 to have human causes. What happened in early 1917 is mainly on the conscience of the contemporary élite, both the liberal opposition and the one in power. The authorities didn’t always opt for reconciling interests. However, every event has its architects, its creators, and its leaders. I think that the liberal opposition systemically contributed to the February Revolution, as it deliberately ruled out any coöperation with the authorities and constantly appealed to the public since as early as late 1915. Therefore, the opposition essentially rocked the boat. In fact, it’s like an avalanche. If one keeps throwing small stones at a mountain, it may eventually lead to a disaster, a landslide destroying everything on its way. History shows us that flirting with revolution is a very dangerous game. Should the authorities and the opposition feel responsible for the nation’s lot, they should seek to avert a radical scenario.

The next fundamental issue is the cause of the February revolution. I believe that longstanding problems, which tragically culminated with the developments of early 1917, largely came from positive and not negative trends in the Russian economy, including the booming Russian economy and the rapid pace of modernisation, which raised very difficult adjustments in society. In re the economic situation in the winter of 1916-17, it wasn’t as gloomy as Russian textbooks and monographs on the February Revolution tend to describe it. In fact, there was no rationing system as such in the cities. With food supplies regulated in a way, Russia avoided the problems of its enemies Germany and Austria-Hungary. At best, disruptions to bread deliveries occurred. Nothing more serious came our way.

From a popular standpoint, a plot against Tsar Nikolai lay behind the February Revolution. In reality, the country simultaneously witnessed several secret cabals within the Gosduma and military establishment. After a while, the plotters combined their efforts, with particular scenarios considered, and bridges built between liberals and left-wingers, as well as between civil and military leadership factions. In this context, we must touch upon the role of Freemasons or Masons. Although reducing everything to Masonic conspiracy theories naturally leads to oversimplification, neglecting this factor implies concealing the truth and distorting the real picture. Undoubtedly, it’s easy to portray the Revolution as an exclusively democratic, spontaneous, and popular uprising, which liberal historians often do. However, I consider the February developments a far more complex phenomenon.

Above all, the conspirators only intended to make the Emperor abdicate. They sought to preserve Russia’s monarchy, with the power of the Tsar being substantially limited. Moreover, they planned to replace Nicholas II with Tsarevich Alexei, to establish a government accountable to the Gosduma, and to transform the country into a stable constitutional monarchy. Yet, everything turned out differently. One can also dwell on the specific participation of the Triple Entente members, which firmly believed that the Tsar’s inner circle and the monarch himself at some point could favour a separate peace agreement with Germany. Our allies understandably found that unacceptable. 1916 revealed the Russian army’s resilience and the remarkable capacities of its weaponry. The Western allies expressed both interest in Russia’s continued fighting at their side and concern over its potential change in the attitude to war.

There’s sound reasoning behind the idea that the February Revolution provided Russia with many opportunities. At the same time, one can’t but point out that the liberal opposition caused the nihilism that eventually muffled all its appeals and killed its aspirations stone-dead. Finally, I think that we should look at the 1917 February and October Revolutions within an overall context. They’re two interlinked and divergent processes. In other words, one can’t deal with them separately. As I see it, today’s emphasis on considering the 1917 Great Russian Revolution from a broader perspective is very sensible. Obviously, we should assess the Revolution in this very way, as a conveyor-belt of changes.

24 February 2017

Rethinking Russia

http://rethinkingrussia.ru/en/2017/02/the-great-split/

Sunday, 19 February 2017

February Revolution of 1917: Good Intentions, Tragic Fates?

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Editor:

A good friend of mine wrote of this:

It shows how some in the emigration are still justifying their and their forefathers’ treason.

I need add no more…

I urge all readers to use the Russian Wikipedia links provided… they differ from the English ones (they’re better)… run a machine translation if you must, it’ll reward you.

BMD

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Nicholas Daniloff, 82, the founder of the School of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston MA and former Moscow correspondent for US News & World Report, is one of a very few Americans who has a personal connection to the February Revolution in Russia. In 1917, this revolution, which combined a popular uprising with a élitist anti-monarchist plot, toppled Tsar Nikolai II Aleksandrovich and paved the way for almost a century of “troubled times” in Russia.

When Nicholas Daniloff was born in a Russian émigré home in Paris in 1934, his grandfather Yu N Danilov, a former tsarist general and head of Russian Army Headquarters during World War I, was still alive and had two more years to live. Isolated both from his now Bolshevik Russian motherland and from the majority of his fellow émigré officers, General Danilov didn’t lead a happy life in France. The reason for their isolation from the mostly monarchist Russian émigré community in Paris was Danilov’s participation in Nikolai II’s abdication on 2 March 1917. The tsar abdicated due to the insistence of the army’s top generals, including Danilov, after a series of rebellions in Petrograd and Moscow on 23 February to 1 March. The generals later said that by forcing Tsar Nikolai to resign they wanted to prevent even bigger troubles, ensuring a smooth transition of state power to the tsar’s relatives or to the Gosduma, which was then dominated by anti-monarchist liberals. However, the situation quickly slipped out of the liberals’ control, the Bolshevik faction of the Social-Democrat Party toppled the liberal Provisional Government in October 1917, and a bloody civil war followed in 1918-21, followed by 70 years of communist rule. Nicholas Daniloff remembered:

My father Serge, a general’s son, lived a life of a refugee in the USA. In early 1917, the Provisional Government sent Serge on a diplomatic mission to Europe, but after the Bolshevik coup, he didn’t want to serve this “new Russia”. The members of the mission divided its funds amongst themselves and went different ways. Therefore, thanks to the February revolution I became an American and later worked as a foreign correspondent in Moscow in the early 1960s and in 1979-86… against the will of my father, who said that even my American passport might not protect me.

Speaking Russian like a native, Daniloff retains a somewhat distanced and critical approach to his historic motherland. In a curious way, this attitude reflects the divisions that to this day plague Russians whenever one mentions the February revolution. He told me during our first meeting in 1991:

I agree with [19th-century French critic of Russian monarchy Astolphe-Louis-Léonor, Marquis] de Custine when he said back in 1840 that Russia was doomed to following the West, but never quite catching up with it. Will this new attempt by Russia to make it [Daniloff meant Gorbachyov‘s perestroika] be successful? Russia already had the Great Reform of 1861, the February revolution of 1917. These attempts were well-intentioned, but never quite successful.

In Russia, the pro-Western Yabloko faction shares Daniloff’s largely positive view of the February revolution’s intentions. Its leader G А Yavlinsky supports the return of the Crimea to the Ukraine and views the EU’s expansion to Russia’s borders as a positive phenomenon. Yavlinsky wrote in an article dedicated to the anniversary of the revolution:

The people who suddenly found themselves having power in February 1917 were educated and honest men, they didn’t deceive their country, and didn’t rob it of its riches. They just lacked the needed experience of running state affairs; the authoritarian tsarist regime denied them this experience.

V А Nikonov, Dean of the History Department at Moscow State University, gave a more negative view both of the February revolution and its leaders at a conference in Moscow dedicated to the February revolution:

The people who held power between February and October 1917 were irresponsible and unpatriotic. The first thing they did after coming to power was to liquidate the Police Department in the Interior Ministry, a step that led to a quick rise in violent crime and extremism. They dismissed or even arrested all the old tsarist governors, without giving clear guidelines to citizens as to how they should elect new governors. All of these actions paved the way for the Bolshevik party, which ultimately seized the power that was lying on the street in October 1917. There can be no feeling of pride associated with the February events and the subsequent abdication of Tsar Nikolai II. Rather, we should remember these events with a feeling of regret or even shame. The tsar was a victim of an elitist conspiracy, which he failed to prevent.

The Bolsheviks executed Nikolai and all of his family in 1918, a little more than a year after the February revolution. The “revolutionary masses” killed most of the military participants of the anti-Nikolai plot (including General N V Ruzsky, who had a direct influence on Nikolai during the latter’s abdication) in 1917-18. The politicians involved in the anti-monarchist conspiracy at least since 1915 (Gosduma leaders P N Milyukov and Prince G Ye Lvov, industrialist A I Konovalov) later lived more or less comfortable lives in emigration, as Russia was treading a bloody path from the Civil War to Stalin’s collectivisation. Some participants of the February events (like the more moderate Gosduma member V V Shulgin) outlived even the 1941-45 Great Patriotic War with Germany… a dramatic “remake” of World War I, which the February revolution is widely believed to have prevented Russia from winning. Shulgin later returned to the USSR, where he spent many years in jail and exile until 1976 (he died at the age of 98), bitterly condemning his Gosduma colleagues’ actions in February 1917.

Was the February revolution inevitable? During Soviet times, it was officially prohibited to even doubt the “historically predetermined character” of the events of 1917. Interestingly, the liberal press and academia in Russia still cling to this “fatalist” view. Amongst those who disagree is B N Mironov, history professor at St Petersburg State University and an author of several books on the Russian revolution of 1917 (the latest trend is to view both the February and the October coups as parts of the same process). He said in a phone interview:

There was no inevitability behind the events of February 1917. Russia wasn’t in military or economic crisis, the food situation in St Petersburg wasn’t good, but it wasn’t worse than in Paris, which had no revolution after all. Russia’s Achilles Heel was public opinion, carefully shaped for years by irresponsible radical intellectuals. The tsar’s main mistake was a lack of attention to public opinion inside the country, where an “anti-monarchist consensus” formed by January 1917. It came about due to rumours about “treason” on the part of [Tsaritsa Aleksandra Fyodorovna], her “spiritual father” G Ye Rasputin, and other members of the so-called “camarilla”.

Investigations by both the Provisional Government and the Soviet Cheka later never found any traces of this “treason”. Mironov noted:

I hope that modern Russian authorities would learn the lessons from 1917, to pay adequate attention to public opinion, and develop healthy pluralism in the political system, making it more flexible and better prepared to sustain all kinds of pressures.

10 February 2017

Dmitri Babich

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201702101050558449-february-revolution-1917-good-intentions-tragic-fates/

Monday, 22 August 2016

22 August 2016. What are Martyrs?

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The 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya are true Martyrs in the Church sense. That is, they died precisely because they were Christians and they showed great courage and endurance until the end. The Royal Passionbearers aren’t Martyrs… the Church rejects that. The Imperial Family didn’t die because they were Christians… they died because they were the Imperial Family. Passionbearers are those who suffer an unjust death at the hands of enemies and who show Christian forbearance unto the end. There is no “ranking” involved in being a Martyr or a Passionbearer. They’re equal. However, the terms recognise a difference in the objective reality of how the subject met their death. In the one case, they died because they were Christian. In the other, they met an unjust death in a Christian manner. It’s clear to all but the most pigheaded rightwing apologist that the Imperial Family didn’t die for the Faith… they died as they were representatives of a particular social and political order. To call them Martyrs is to blaspheme Martyrdom and spit on the Church’s Judgement.

Martyrdom is what it is… the Imperial Family aren’t Martyrs (it’s equally true that Lenin didn’t order their deaths… ROCOR rightwing lies to the contrary notwithstanding). Have a care… there are charlatans and poseurs afoot…

BMD

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