Tuesday, November 7, 2017

12:29 PM 11/7/2017 - Opinions Review: Lessons from a century of communism - WP | What Russian Revolution? - The New York Times

Lessons from a century of communism

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What Russian Revolution? - The New York Times

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Most countries have an unpredictable future; Russia has an unpredictable past. That old chestnut has cropped up often this year as the Kremlin has struggled to find an appropriate official way to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.
Manipulating history for political ends is not unusual — see the Trump administration and the Civil War. But in Russia, invoking history has long been a way of proclaiming political or ideological affiliation. The “Great October Socialist Revolution” was the founding myth of the Soviet Union; Nov. 7 (Oct. 25 on the old Russian calendar), the date of the uprising that brought the Bolsheviks to power, was the national holiday, on which tanks, missiles and high-stepping soldiers swept through Red Square.
The history of the revolution — and of the czarist past, and for that matter of the entire world — was written to fit the myth of Soviet Russia as the vanguard of civilization, and woe to those who tampered with the official version. Unless they were the guardians of the official version, to whom it fell now and again to rewrite and update that history — like when Stalin went abruptly from demigod to footnote.
The end of the Soviet Union in 1990 set history adrift. The collapse of a totalitarian dictatorship that had overthrown an absolute monarchy forced Russians to confront a painful task of choosing what to glorify, what to condemn, and what to gloss over. Impassioned debates over what role of “liberalism,” “democracy” or “elections” might have had a century ago are really about today.
Those who pine for a powerful state, President Vladimir Putin among them, have come to blame Lenin for the territorial costs he incurred for quitting the war with Germany and to credit Stalin with putting it together again (until it was dismantled anew by Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin). The last czar, Nicholas II, is alternately seen as a weak master who either foolishly allowed the autocracy to founder or who failed to ride with a democratizing tide. The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized him as martyr of an idealized, God-fearing past.
The fall of Communism is the onset of freedom for some, the collapse of empire for others, and simply irrelevant to many Russians under 35, who, according to public opinion polls, simply don’t know much about 1917.
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President Trump's associates have been indicted. Can Trump himself emerge unscathed?

Early Monday, the very first charges were issued in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Three former Trump campaign officials were indicted in the probe: Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and two lesser-known Trump associates Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. So what are the details […]

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Arriving in Japan, Trump projects confidence, says he’ll probably meet Putin during Asia trip
TOKYO — President Trump offered a brief overview of his five-country, 12-day trip to Asia as he flew from Honolulu to Tokyo on Saturday, telling reporters that he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin while abroad, plans to pressure other leaders to take a tougher stance on North Korea, and thinks he is […]
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Trump arrives in Seoul, tours Camp Humphreys military base on eve of North Korea speech

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Trump arrives in Seoul, tours Camp Humphreys military base on eve of North Korea speech
SEOUL — President Trump arrived in South Korea on Tuesday and toured Camp Humphreys, the third military base he has visited since leaving Washington on a 12-day trip to the Asia Pacific as he prepares to deliver a major speech on North Korea. The president landed at the $11 billion base, 40 miles south of […]

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