Boris Yeltsin may have reversed the revolution by overthrowing the Communist party. But it’s Putin who has brought the century’s circle back to its beginning. Putin has restored Holy Russia: a society where ruler and church are united, where dissent is treason and where secret police watch for the slightest flicker of popular discontent.
Official Russia will avoid glorifying 1917 — and not just because of the political dangers of encouraging revolt and protest. A century ago, Russia’s avant-garde represented the boldest concentration of imagination and talent in the world. They invented the future in which we now live. Today’s Russia, by contrast, lives in a cloud of nostalgia for a lost Soviet past. There’s no place in Putin’s vision of a united, obedient, God-fearing people for either revolution or radical thinking.