[Marxism] Russia's October Revolution celebrations planned

Alan Bradley alanb1000 at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 20 18:09:38 MDT 2007

From: "Walter Lippmann
> (Russia today is, of course, a capitalist country,
> but one which put itself on the international map
> as a modern power to be reckoned with when it threw
> out the Czar and abolished capitalism. Today Russia
> is also a power to be reckoned with. 

Truely terrible historical illiteracy.

Russia first appeared on the scene as a great power
under Peter the Great, in the early 18th Century. The
Great Northern War saw it decisively eclipse its
Swedish and Polish rivals. Even before that, of
course, it had been steadily expanding its borders to
the East and South.

In the Seven Years War, it was the backbone of the
anti-Prussian coalition - the one power the Prussians
couldn't decisively defeat. Its defection from the
coalition was the true cause of Prussia's survival -
the "Miracle of the House of Hohenzollern".

In the Napoleonic Wars, it provided the largest
contingent of the anti-French armies of the Third
Coalition (1805), fought the French independently in
1807 (and a few other times as well!), and, of course,
crushed the French invasion in 1812, and participated
massively in the subsequent campaigns in 1813-14.

In the subsequent decades, it played the role of the
ultimate defence against revolution in Europe. (This
was acknowledged by Marx and Engels themselves.) It
was not only a great power, it was, in a sense, THE
great power - the one that maintained social stability
in the others.

In the early 1850s, it fought the Crimean war against
Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and
Piedmont/Sardinia (the state that would unify Italy
5-6 years later). It would be fair to say that Russia
was defeated, since the treaty that ended it favoured
the Turks. However, a subsequent conflict with the
Turks in the 1870s was far more favourable to Russia.

While all this was going on, "the Great Game" was
being waged in Central Asia, with Britain and Russia
busily trying to expand their spheres of influence at
each others expense, and, of course, at the expense of
Persia, the Ottomans, China, and the smaller powers of
the area.

All of this was the history of a Great Power, with
Capital Letters.

Russia really only ran into trouble when it came into
conflict with Japan in 1904-05. All of a sudden, its
more backward features bit it on the backside.

Things became worse in 1914-1917, but it should be
noted that despite its defeats at the hands of
Germany, it was very far from being a pushover, and
was actually successful against Austria-Hungary.

Russia was *always* a major power in modern times.
Granted, it peaked as one of the two Superpowers in a
bipolar world, but it was one of the big players from
the 18th Century onwards.

Just nitpicking. :)

Alan Bradley

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