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  • Writer's pictureSona Chaturvedi

Lessons From Russian History

In 1917, Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik Revolution against a corrupt ruling class.

It all came to a crashing halt for the Romanovs in the early 20th-century.

The Russian ruling class was executed in 1917 by the working-class Bolsheviks, who had their fill of the cruel economic and social injustice it had endured during centuries of imperial rule. Their uprising led to sweeping social changes, including a new system of government that allowed “peasants” more freedom to organize. Russia had a long-standing history of corruption by ruling classes, czars and dictators.

Until the Bolsheviks...

On Nov. 6-7, 1917, leftist revolutionaries led by Bolshevik Party leader Vladimir Lenin launched a nearly bloodless coup d’état against the ruling class. The provisional government had been initially assembled by a group of leaders from Russia’s bourgeois capitalist class, but Lenin instead called for a Soviet government that would be ruled directly by councils of soldiers, peasants and workers.

The Bolsheviks and their allies occupied government buildings and soon formed a new government with Lenin as its head, and Lenin became the leader of the world’s first communist state.

It had good intentions, however, Lenin became gravely ill and a ruthless dictator, Joseph Stalin, soon came to power and perverted the Marxist premise behind communism. It became authoritarian in the extreme.

These lessons are meaningful because there are significant parallels between the underlying causes of the Russian Revolution and what we are seeing transpire today, both in Russia and here. The Bolsheviks revolted against cruel economic inequality and the dehumanization of the “workers.” 

In the United States, we are going through our own revolution at the moment against an oligarchy. They call themselves the GOP. In addition, we have a corrupt dictator in the Executive Branch in OUR government with ties to autocrats around the world; especially Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It hasn't received much attention in the United States, but protesters in Russia are challenging Putin's authority. This grassroots groundswell is beginning to look a lot like the revolution in 1917, as an increasingly discontent working class is rising up against the ruling oligarchy. Putin recently  announced he would remain president for an extended period of time and detained a regional governor.

Meanwhile, in the former Soviet republic of Belarus, a massive rally of women are seeking to unseat authoritarian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. He has been in power since 1994.

And then there is the U.S. Once a beacon of hope against this kind of oppression, this country has succumb to the same type of dictatorship.

We aren’t accepting it at all.

With the elections just around the corner, the race is not even close, according to every reputable polling company. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has the clear advantage, and the GOP is resorting to election rigging, gerrymandering and foreign interference. They are indicating an unwillingness to accept fair democratic results.

Just as in Russia, Belarus and others that are sure to follow, a reckoning is here. A fight for democracy, racial equality, sexual equality and economic justice is here. We are protesting against incredible odds and it is ours for the taking.

Time will tell and blood will continue to be shed.

With these events rapidly unfolding in front of our eyes, it’s important to remember others have been here before us. And as has been said by many, when in doubt, pick up a history book.


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