The Lessons of World War I Still Haunt Russia Today
Nikolas K. Gvosdev
On November 11, the world will acknowledge the 100 th anniversary of the armistice that ended the carnage that was the First World War. That date, however, doesn’t resonate in Russia. A far more significant moment on the calendar that just passed—the anniversary of the Bolshevik seizure of power—was similarly marginalized last year when the centennial of the October Revolution was largely ignored by the Russian government and Russian society as a whole. Current Russia sees little to celebrate or reminisce about the events of a century ago. After all, by the time the guns fell silent on the Western front, a Russia gripped in the frenzy of the revolution had already been knocked out of the war, losing more than one-third of the territory of the former Russian Empire in the process. What was left of the country was plunged into a bloody, destructive civil war that would not end for three more years. What followed was a series of famines, purges and the immense human costs wrought by rapid industrialization and the Second World War.