Putin Rehabilitates World War One
The embalmed corpse of Lenin must have turned over after hearing Putin’s speech in August at the unveiling of a monument to Russian First World War ‘heroes’.
Putin’s speech (eng.kremlin.ru/news/22756) sought to rehabilitate the First World War and use it to bolster Russian nationalism and capitalism. Putin is busily rewriting Russian history; ‘Russia did everything it could to convince Europe to find a peaceful and bloodless solution’ but Russia as a world power was as culpable as all the western capitalist states. He spoke of ‘our people’s spiritual and moral upsurge at that moment’ which is bunkum considering Russia was a semi-feudal, autocratic Tsarist Empire with no democracy and the peasantry just a couple of generations away from serfdom. Maybe he was talking about the priest Rasputin ‘lathering up’ the Russian Empress.
According to him, ‘our country had no choice but to rise to the challenge, defend a brotherly Slavic people and protect our own country and people from the foreign threat.’ He even glorifies the 1916 Brusilov offensive which cost the Russians a million casualties. ‘Victory’, he claims, ‘was stolen from our country. It was stolen by those who called for the defeat of their homeland and army, who sowed division inside Russia and sought only power for themselves, betraying the national interests’ when in fact it was the Russian peasant and proletarian soldiers in the army who walked away from the front and demanded land, bread and an end to the slaughter. We hold no brief for Lenin and the Bolsheviks but we can recognise that the one good thing they did, in response to Russian soldiers voting against the war with their feet, was to take Russia out of the First World War. Putin would have sent millions more to the slaughter.