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The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin's 1917 Schizophrenia (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

It's an anniversary Vladimir Putin's regime would prefer to ignore -- but it can't.

And if the Kremlin can't ignore it, it needs to figure out a way to spin it and to frame it.

The anniversary, of course, is the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

It was the world's first colored revolution. It happened in Putin's hometown. And next week marks its 99th anniversary.

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So you know what that means, don't you? Yep. You guessed it. It means that next year is the centennial.

And for the history-obsessed Kremlin, this presents a problem.

Because while the Putin regime is keen to revive Soviet forms and Soviet power, the last thing it wants Russians to be thinking about is the way in which the Soviet state actually came into existence.

The last thing it wants on people's minds is the memory of a good old, homegrown, Russian colored revolution.

And it appears that the Kremlin is getting a head start in laying down the law.

According to a report in Kommersant, the Security Council is already preparing efforts to establish the party line on 1917. It is in the process of deciding what the official narrative is and what is heresy.

How will the Putin regime square this circle? How will it frame the anniversary of a revolution while at the same time condemning revolutions?

How will the Kremlin reconcile its 1917 schizophrenia?

We'll find out soon enough. And the answer should be interesting -- and it should be telling.

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