Russia forever remains an enigma throughout the world. It is one of the most unique countries. It has Superpower status, yet, in many aspects, barely ranks above a third world one. The country is structured enough to have a middle class. However, the wealth and power today, as well as in the USSR era, are concentrated amongst a select few, the Oligarchs . Despite this, Russian President Vladimir Putin remains extremely popular among the Russian people.
Our story does have a beginning, it is 1917. Russia, engaged in a world war with Germany among others, shed its centuries of Tsarist rule and tried to turn to democracy. Led by a lawyer, who dabbled in politics, Alexander Kerensky tried to fight a war and bring political reform to Russia. Political ferment brew for a long time before the revolution.Kerensky and his provisional government were in charge now. Arrested and on his way to Yekaterinburg, Tsar Nicholas II and his family had not very much life to live.
The Bolsheviks, lead by Vladimir Lenin, with notable assists by Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky, overthrew the Provisional government eight months later and promptly withdrew Russia from World War I. As for its cost, the Russian empire would lose an estimated 1.7 million men during the course of battle, topped only Germany’s 1.8 million.
But war wasn’t done with the Russian people quite yet. Forces loyal to Tsar Nicholas and the Bolsheviks continued fighting each other for control of Mother Russia. Wikipedia defines it:
The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fUUhting for the Bolshevik form of socialism, and the loosely allied forces known as the White Army, which included diverse interests favoring monarchism, capitalism and alternative forms of socialism, each with democratic and antidemocratic variants. In addition, rival militant socialists and nonideological Green armies fought against both the Bolsheviks and the Whites
The cost of the civil war was enormous for the already delicate country. It would take the Bolsheviks seventeen years (1934) to final have all of Russia fully under its thumb. Its toll was an estimated 8 million lives. In two wars, Russia would lose 11 million lives.
Joseph Stalin, one imagines, shook it off, adjusted his jacket and said in his best Jack Nicholson voice:
“Yeah? Well, wait til they get a load of me.”
Uncle Joe, the benevolent, all knowing and all seeing, would show them a thing or two.