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One hundred years ago (Jan 19, 1918) the Bolsheviks forcibly dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly, kickstarting the Russian Civil War.

map-russia-constituent-assembly-election-1917

Source: @welections
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Brown = Social Revolutionaries; Red = Bolsheviks; Green = Regional SR’s; Yellow = Local parties.

More germane reason: The Bolsheviks had only gotten 24.5% of the vote, getting beaten out by the Social Revolutionaries with 40.4%.

This doesn’t change even if we account for the Left SR’s deserting to the Bolsheviks, since they only won 4o mandates to the Right SR’s 375 and the Bolsheviks’ 175.

Contrary to both Communist and Western Russophobe propaganda, Russians never voted in the Bolsheviks, let alone gave them license to usurp absolute power and launch a civil war.

The median point of public sentiment prior to the war was approximately between as-is (Right and nationalists) and constitutional monarchy (Octobrists). That median point shifted radically left by 1917, yet even so it remained firmly in non-Bolshevik territory, corresponding to the positions of the Social Revolutionaries, and of their main (“Right SRs”) faction – aka basically the equivalents of European social democrats – in particular. While a left turn was inevitable, especially on land redistribution, there was no plans for mass confiscations or ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning (Austria-Hungary had been preparing to sue for peace immediately before the October Revolution). In essence, the Bolsheviks roundly failed the sole quantitative test of their legitimacy, namely, free elections. That is despite the demoralization of two revolutions, the Provisional Government’s persecution of right-wing parties, and incessant Bolshevik subversion of the army and the home front.

The Bolsheviks were never prepared to accept the democratic will of the people. Lenin made it very clear that giving the institution any power was effectively a betrayal of the proletariat and the Revolution. Sovnarkom fatefully undermined its authority before it even went into session (banning the bourgeois Kadets; decreeing that it needed to achieve quorum to meet, making it critically dependent on the Bolsheviks; decreeing that all power belonged to the Soviets anyway, and that anyone thinking otherwise would be treated as a counter-revolutionary).

On the first – and last – day of the Constituent Assembly’s convention at the Tauride Palace on January 18, the Bolshevik Sverdlov Yakov Sverdlov demanded they recognize the Soviets as the ultimate power in the land. The other parties refused. The Bolsheviks walked out, and the Left SRs followed them. The plan was to surround the Tauride Palace with Latvian Riflemen the following morning and bar the delegates entrance. But in the end, that plan proved superfluous; the red sailors who were tasked with keeping watch over the proceedings after the Bolsheviks departed kicked out the delegates early in the night. Most of those delegates soon left the capital for gathering centers of resistance in the provinces, or fled abroad. The Bolsheviks declared the Constituent Assembly to be a nest of counter-revolutionary forces on January 19.

map-russia-constituent-assembly-election-1917-bolsheviks

Source: @welections
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Bolshevik share of the vote.

Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire.

They then proceeded to form the hard core of the Bolshevik’s armed muscle in the critical early months of the Civil War. Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918, and the Red Latvian Riflemen played a central role in crushing the initial anti-Bolshevik uprisings in central Russia. Consequently, bereft of Russia’s industrial and logistical heartlands from the very start, the dice were loaded against the Whites.

Of course none of this stops Latvians from demanding Russia pay them muh reparations just for making them live with their democratic choices of 1917, come 1940.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Bolshevik Revolution, Communism, Elections, Latvia 
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baltlivesmatter

Muh reparations! Muh slavery!

The justice ministers of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania declared that it’s time to calculate the losses the three countries suffered as the result of the Soviet occupation and demand that Russia, as the legal successor of the USSR, take responsibility and pay compensation. Yet, other members of the Estonian Government say the declaration, signed on Thursday, was not discussed in cabinet meetings.

This is nothing new. Demands for reparations have been issuing from the Baltics since the 1990s, the most energetic party typically being Latvia. Nothing will ever come of them, not least because Russia could always send them the bill for Soviet-era infrastructure and subsidized gas.

Even so, cringeworthy whining regardless, do the Balts actually “deserve” reparations in a moral sense from Russia for Soviet crimes against them?

Allow me to indulge in some modest russplaining, and present a better question: Does Russia deserve reparations from the Balts?

Contrary to Russophobes who claim the USSR was nothing more than an expression of Russian imperial chauvinism, and anti-Semites who ascribe it all to the Jooz, the fact of the matter is that the Bolsheviks were also greatly aided in their designs by the many the other small nationalities of the former Soviet Union.

Moreover, as a general rule, the more they helped out the Bolsheviks, the more they have been lionized by Western neocons and East European diaspora nations, and the harder they have worked to airbrush their roles out of the Soviet project: From stronk Polish Hussars to True Aryan Ukrainians and “Stalin planned a second Holocaust” Jews to the “plucky” Balts and Georgians of the conventional Western imagination.

The Latvians in particular are the very distillation of this pheonomenon. This nation of less than two million people, thanks to the Red Latvian Riflemen, provided the firepower to disband the Constituent Assembly – the product of the only free elections in Russia until 1990, in which the Bolsheviks got less than 25% of the votes – before being redirected to quell anti-Bolshevik uprisings in the Russian cities of Moscow and Yaroslavl.

No Latvians serving as Varangian Guards to the Bolsheviks, and its feasible that there would not even have been a Soviet Union.

The first leader of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, was Felix Dzerzhinsky, an ethnic Pole (and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s hero back when being pro-Red Terror was politically correct). His key deputies were a couple of Latvians, Yakov Peters and Martin Latsis.

The heavily Jewish nature of the early top Bolshevik ranks, and of the pre-purge NKVD, is now as much a matter of confirmed historical record by the most impeccably academic and indeed Jewish sources, as is the fact that after 1938 control shifted to what was essentially a Georgian-Mingrelian mafia headed by Stalin.

Considering the critical role of Latvians in foisting the Bolsheviks to power and committing atrocities against Russians, it is if anything Russia which should be demanding reparations from Latvia for its crimes against the Russian people, nation, and culture. Further invoices can be sent to Saakashvili and the Beltway “Now We Call Ourselves Neocons” Trotskyists later.

Of course, as a somewhat self-respecting Great Power with a rich history and culture independent of the Soviet experienece, Russia has no particular need or urge to engage in such antics to confirm its status as a European nation. It is if anything pluralist enough for support an entire ecosystem of ideological Atlanticists and Yuropcultists who insist on taking exclusive ownership of the crimes of a long dead Georgian gangster and flaggelating themselves for it. This “pathological altruism” is a quintessentially European trait. To the contrary, even pro-Russian foreigners in as “reformed” and Yuropean a small East European country as Estonia – look, they have e-democracy! – get deported as “Russian agents of influence.”

This, in a nutshell, is the difference between Russia and the small aboriginal cargo cults whose sense of nationhood boils down to the East European equivalent of muh oppressions and gimme gibs.

 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.