On the eve of the Russian Revolution's centenary, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who formerly headed the presidential administration's internal policy department, warned against new revolutions. During the meeting of the XXI World Russian People's Council, devoted to the theme "Russia in the XXI century: historical experience and prospects," Volodin added that it is unacceptable to romanticize revolutions and glorify individuals, who toppled legitimate governments.
The event was opened by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who stated that Russian society should learn from its "mistakes" and remain united, avoiding the trap of fomenting new political revolutions as in 1917. The Patriarch explicitly singled out the color revolutions for opprobrium, as they have become a "technological concept", defining the "change of power by force" and justifying the "violation of the Constitution" and "norms of international law."
According to a survey on how Russians assess the October coup performed by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the majority of Russians have mixed feelings about the 1917 Revolution. The institute's findings show that 32% of the respondents could not make up their minds regarding the events of 1917. Another 29% felt that the coup had caused the country good and harm in equal measure. 21% of the citizens saw positive changes after the revolution. 19% of the respondents believed that the Bolshevik coup had caused the country more harm than good. With regards to its significance, the October coup was treated by Russians on an equal footing with the abolition of serfdom in 1861. The former was seen as an element of national pride by 6% of the respondents, the latter -- by 7%. The majority of those interviewed (76%) called the victory in the Second World War the most important event in the country's history.
Following are excerpts from Volodin's speech and the reactions to it:
New Planet, 1921 by Konstantin Yuon, symbolizing the comic dimension of the Russian revolution. (Source: Pinterest)
Duma Speaker Volodin (Source: Sputniknews.com)
Volodin: 'The Lack Of Justice May Ruin The Foundations Of Statehood'
During the meeting of the XXI World Russian People's Council, Volodin enumerated five main values that should drive the Russian society:
"We have to learn to appreciate and defend the existing living arrangements. We have to understand how our core values are expressed in this way of life: family, faith, unity, Fatherland. And of course justice. The lack of justice may lead to a schism and give rise to the revolutionary activities of the marginalized –and eventually, the lack of justice may ruin the foundations of statehood, which might seem immutable."
(Interfax.ru, November 1, 2017)
Volodin: Changes In Society Should Not Occur Through Revolutions
In his speech, Volodin warned that viewing revolutions in romantic colors posed a danger:
"It is unacceptable to romanticize revolutions and glorify individuals, who toppled legitimate governments, , condemning their people to senseless suffering.
"The highest mission of the authorities is to strive for consensus on the major issues and seek social compromises on contentious issues, solve them and not allow [these issues] to deteriorate into serious problems.
"The main lesson in this tragic history of revolutionary upheavals is that the much needed creative and constructive development of society occurs not via revolution, but via social consolidation and the freedom of self-realization for every person".
(Kp.ru, November 1, 2017)
Volodin: Revolutionary Upheavals Are Negatively Evaluated By Our Society
Volodin also added: "Our country has chosen a creative and a peaceful path of development. Revolutionary upheavals, including those taking place in neighboring countries, are negatively evaluated by [our] society, while definitely they do not serve as an example for emulation". Therefore, concluded Volodin, the Russians should develop "evolutionarily" based simultaneously on national traditions and modern democratic institutions.
(Rbc.ru, November 1, 2017)
Russian Journalist Shevchenko: 'What Is A Legal Power In Russian History? The Power Of The People Or The Power Of Tyrants?'
Russian journalist, Maxim Shevchenko, who generally supports the Kremlin, wrote a reply to Volodin, criticizing him for delegitimizing the Russian revolution:
"Volodin said: 'It is unacceptable to romanticize revolutions and glorify individuals, who toppled legitimate governments, condemning their people to senseless suffering. For the majority of citizens the revolutionary spirit became synonymous with bias, criminality and backwardness'.
"Was the Russian Provisional Government legitimate, Vyacheslav Vladimirovich [Volodin]? What law was it founded on? Was it legitimate by the virtue of recognition by Britain and France...? Do you also see in that way your own power [authority] which started with mindless 1991 and the bloody 1993 [when Yeltsin used force to break the deadlock with the Duma]? If the authority of the revolutionary February Provisional Government, according to Volodin, is illegal, then wouldn't an uprising to topple the illegal government be legal? …
"What is a legal power in Russian history? The power of the people or the power of tyrants? Which one is it forbidden to topple?"
(Facebook.com/shevchenko.maxim.leonardovich, November 1, 2017)
Russian Journalist Zhelenin: The Government Exploits Centenary To Demonize Political Change
Also commenting on Volodin's speech, Russian journalist Aleksandr Zhelenin writing for the Rosbalt news agency, accused the government of exploiting the centenary to prove its infallibility in internal and external policy.
"What does [Volodin's term] 'legal governments' mean? An upheaval against authorities, that destroy the citizens' freedoms and rights and kills them, is considered just in democratic society and hence legal."
"As for us, we get it that 'to romanticize revolutions and glorify individuals, who toppled legitimate governments,' is a bad thing. Instead, to romanticize imperialist, predatory wars - in which millions of people are being sent to the slaughter to defend the interests of a handful of wealthy and powerful people – that is the easiest thing to do. How beautiful is this new, topsy-turvy world…"
(Rosbalt.ru, November 2, 2017)
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7177, At The Opening Of Russia's Wall Of Grief, Patriarch Kirill Criticizes The Bolshevik Revolution On Its 100th Anniversary And Warns Against Fomenting New Revolutions, November 13, 2017.
 Politsovet.ru, October 24, 2017.