Today marks the centennial of the start of upheaval in Petrograd – events now known to history as the February Revolution – which forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate and paved the way for an experiment in Communism that lasted over 74 years.
According to a number of biographical accounts, history was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite subject in school, and he appears to retain a keen interest in history right up to the present day.
As Russia’s economic crisis deepens, President Vladimir Putin will need to turn his attention to keeping the lid on domestic discontent. But Putin’s understanding of the imperial nature of the Russian state could potentially hamper his ability to craft policies that give the country the best chance of avoiding a repeat of history.
Some experts in Russia are cautioning that the Kremlin’s unwillingness to address problems connected with the country’s imperial features is starting to pose a risk to the state’s territorial integrity.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey are not the most popular leaders in the world today, but they are certainly popular with each other. Their mutual affinity is not just the result of personal chemistry, it also stems from a shared craving for unchecked power.
Boris Nemtsov’s assassination can be considered the natural outcome of trends that have been shaping Russia’s development for the past couple of years. More ominously, the killing may signal that Russia is headed for a period of prolonged political violence.