NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Revolution, A Century On” – The Interpreter (Lowy Institute for International Policy-Australia)/Matthew Dal Santo

File photo of Czar Nicholas II in Military Uniform Outdoors with Soldiers in Background, adapted from image at defense.gov

“A century ago today, Emperor Nicholas II, ‘Tsar and Autocrat of all the Russias’, pencilled his name to a document renouncing a throne three hundred years in his family’s possession, not only for himself but also his son and chronically ill heir, Alexis. The date, according to the old Russian calendar, was 3 March 1917. So definitively began, after days of riots in war-weary Petrograd … the Russian Revolution. As news of the Tsar’s abdication filtered back to the capital, jubilant crowds trampled the Romanovs’ double-headed eagle in the streets. A hundred years later, however, jubilation has yielded to a quieter kind of commemoration. Today, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will lead a memorial service in honour of Nicholas II and Russia’s vanished monarchy. … * * * Only by acknowledging their contribution can Russians make peace with not only with their past, but their present as well. Should 1917 be celebrated – or should it be mourned?

For many Russians, the answer has less to do with history than with what kind of a people they are today.

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