Russian President Putin recently dedicated1 a World War I monument in Moscow with a speech. He started, “ A century ago on this day, Russia found itself obliged to enter World War I.”
Further in the speech he said, “But their feats and their sacrifices in Russia’s name were forgotten for long years. World War I itself, which the rest of the world calls the Great War, was erased from our country’s history and was labeled simply ‘imperialist’… Today we are restoring the historical; truth about World War I…”
In lecture 5 of “Six Months That Changed The World: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919” Margaret MacMillan explains the Germans rationalized that they really did not lose the Great War, as their soldiers returned in good order, and except for the in the Rhineland they were not occupied. They rationalized that what was lost was due to backstabbing elements in their own society. These elements would be the ones victimized by the Nazi brown shirts in the terrible years to come.
Having made an early peace with Germany, with generous territory granted in exchange for removal of German troops from Russian soil, the Soviets concentrated on making a peoples republic and were looking forward to world revolution. At the Paris Peace Conference where Soviet Russia was not present, France, Great Britain, and the United States decided how the world boundaries where going to look for the next century or so, which laid many seeds of immediate and future conflict.
Could the same thing be happening in today’s Russia ?
Putin asserts, “But this victory was stolen from our country. It was stolen for the defeat of their homeland and army, who sowed division inside Russia and sought only power for themselves, betraying the national interests. Today , we are restoring the links in time, making our history a single flow once more….”
Those who would romanticize that Putin is a stand in for a past Soviet glory are mistaken. This is a reactionary imperialist. It is no wonder that many of the reactionary parties that succeeded in the European Parliamentary elections admire Putin, and actually despise the United States. Putin is resurrecting the fabled past to buttress his crony capitalist state. It will be as if the communist revolution never happened. A great big mistake.
Perhaps Putin can chalk it up as a foreign homosexual Zionist plot. Marx and Lenin can be placed in the rubbish bin and the flow of history restored. Russia will stand up, just in time for the taunting that the United States and allies are giving it in Ukraine.