A New Russian Revolution?

(I Don’t Think So)

Vladimir Putin is a familiar kind of Russian tyrant- so why don’t the Russian people rise up against Him?

It’s largely because Russia doesn’t have a tradition of democracy- that is, representative government. Until 1917 Russia was ruled by the brutal regimes of the Tsars.

Following the 1917 February Revolution in which Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, a provisional government was established pending the implementation of a permanent representative government. While the provisional government held state power, the Soviets (worker’s council) had the loyalty of peasants and factory workers.

During the October Revolution which followed, the provisional government was overthrown and the Bolsheviks installed the Soviets as the government, and repressed all other factions that had competed for power.

The result was a government that epitomized top-down leadership and the same repression that the Russian people had always been subject to, with executive power being held by a few individuals, represented by the Premier. While the Soviets conducted periodic elections, above the local and perhaps district level they were a total sham. The fact that the results at the national level were determined by the Supreme Soviet was an open secret.

Meanwhile, the Russian people have survived from crisis to crisis being dependent on a powerful man at the top who would issue broad edicts that appeared to resolve the crises- at least temporarily. These leaders were referred to as “Sil’naya Ruka,” or the “Strong Hand.” This is what the autocratic Putin represents to them, and they will not rise up as long as he can create a new crisis to lead them out of.

Image: Google Images

Originally posted on Quora, edited for Medium.