Putin may have been right about Lenin placing a 'atom bomb' under Russia, but it was Yeltsin who started the chain reaction
Speaking at a meeting with leading Russian scientists and educators President Putin gave his assessment of the breakup of the Soviet Union which he had previously called ‘one of the greatest geopolitical catastrophies of the 20th century’:
"They [Bolsheviks] planted an atomic bomb under the building called Russia, later it blew it up"
He referred to the chain of historical events unleashed by the February 1917 Revolution – a Maidan–like overthrow of the head of state, Tsar Nicholas II, during World War I.
Subsequent democratic reforms such as sending interim government political commissars to the front and giving soldiers the right to elect their commanders, led to the disintegration of the Russian Empire. The pieces were picked up by the Bolsheviks who welded them together in the form of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) generously adding territories populated by ethnic Russians to nascent republics like Ukraine – in the name of ‘proletarian internationalism’. Thus Russia was the only continental empire that survived the Great War.
In November 1991 leaders of the Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republics, inspired by Boris Yeltsin, abrogated the December 1922 Union Treaty – in defiance of the nationwide referendum taken several months earlier, in which an overwhelming majority in all republics voted for the preservation of the USSR.
So, if Lenin did plant an atomic bomb, it was dormant until Yeltsin pulled the trigger.
These recent remarks were not the first instance of Vladimir Putin taking a public anti-Lenin stance. At the May 9, 2015 V-day parade, troops marched past a heavily draped Lenin Mausoleum on the Red Square at whose base 70 years ago victorious Red Army in a solemn ceremony threw the military colors of defeated Nazi Germany.
That same year Mr. Putin appeared at the opening of the Yeltsin Memorial Center in Yekaterinburg – much to the dismay of his pro, anti- and Lenin-neutral supporters alike.
According to the polls repeatedly taken two plus decades after Russia became independent from the USSR, Yeltsin remains the least popular Russian leader of the 20th century, with Lenin stuck in the middle of the list topped by Ukrainian born CPSU General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. Tsar Nicholas II follows a close second.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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