This year marks the centenary of the October Revolution in #Russia that brought into power the Communist Party and created the Soviet Union whose collapse ended the first #cold war. The Revolution was a turning point in History but we still feel its impact today thanks to the interference of the Western powers.

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Two revolutions

#Russia suffered two revolutions in 1917.

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The first was the February Revolution when the population revolted against the consequences of the Empire’s involvement in the war with Germany that we now call the Great War. After weeks of protests and strikes which led to the suspension of the Duma, the Russian parliament, the Army sided with the protesters and Tsar Nicholas II abdicated.

The new government led by Alexander Kerensky tried to placate the population but kept the country in the war which had already cost them millions of lives. In an attempt to force Russia to withdraw from the War the German government made an agreement with Vladimir Lenin the leader of the communist Bolsheviks then living in exile in Switzerland to transport him to Russia and in return he would withdraw his country from the conflict when he took power conflict.

After the almost bloodless October Revolution of that year he kept his agreement with the Germans and withdrew the country from the war.

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This angered Russia’s former allies and they actively supported the White Russians fighting the communist forces.

Secret war

From 1918 until 1922 the #United States, Great Britain, France and Japan actively opposed the Russian communists in a secret war. Over time these efforts petered out but the British and French interference continued after the end of the First World War and were kept secret from their population for decades.

As proof, only a few years ago a family in Australia finally discovered the details and burial place of a relative who had been awarded the Victoria Cross the highest British military honour which was unexplained in the medal’s citation. He had died as a member of a British unit fighting in Russia in 1919 and was buried in Vladivostok. At the time the government kept the details secret in order not to reveal that the country was involved in a conflict that had never been declared or officially recognized..

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Even now there are few in the West who know about a campaign that is only found in specialized history books but this interference has never been forgotten in Russia.

Consequences

The major consequence of the western interference was obviously the deep mistrust of the Soviet Union towards the Western powers and only relaxed when Germany invaded Russia and the USSR became one of the major allies that went on to defeat Hitler’s Germany.

Once the war finished the mistrust once more reasserted itself when the USSR drew what Winston Churchill defined as an “Iron Curtain” though Eastern Union and the Cold War began.

Undoubtedly this history was taught at the KGB Academy where the former Soviet Union’s intelligence agents were trained, one of these graduates was #Vladimir Putin who is now the President of the new Russia that rose from the ashes of the collapsed USSR.

Reminders

This history is part of the reasons that the West must not underestimate the allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.

While the United States awaits the results of investigations of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and also by the country’s intelligence community into the allegations we must bear in mind the past to understand that such interference is not new and that the first to do it were the Western Allies, including the United States, to the Russians in 1917.

This repeat of history only makes us wonder if the world will ever stop paying the price for mistakes of the past. We probably never will.