The Atlantic

Putin Likes to Pretend 1917 Never Happened

How the Russian Revolution became taboo
Source: Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

Just over 100 years ago, Russian Emperor Nicholas II abdicated his throne and his vast empire ceased to exist, setting off decades of world-shaking change. Yet this year, not a single Russian television station marked the anniversary. The decision to ignore the centennial arose from a meeting at the Kremlin last year, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin told his advisors that it would be unnecessary to commemorate it. Instead, the occasion should be discussed “only by experts,” he reportedly said. That is, let the experts, the historians, discuss the Revolution; the rest of Russia shouldn’t concern itself with such matters.

This order was then conveyed by Sergei Kirienki, the Kremlin’s new political strategist, to the directors of Russia’s state media companies. Russia doesn’t need revolutions—it needs stability, he said, according to those who attended these

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