Putin’s regime uses the image of revolution it has created as an instrument for the consolidation of national unity. First, revolution is demonized as something external to the healthy collective body of the nation. Next, everything that prevents the functioning of the existing government becomes tinged with revolution. The third step is to activate the various forms of exorcist expulsion of the contagion threatening national unity.
Therefore the internal unease compelling the authorities to frame the public perception of the Revolution does not resonate with the historical event that took place in 1917. It relates to the peculiarities of the historical imagination pervading the current hegemony of state patriotism, and it is rooted in the historical unconscious of a political elite forced to speak about an event they would rather forget. The spectre of revolution is much younger and more dangerous than the revolutionary centenary. The official ideological framework for the current centenary is purposely designed not to let that spectre return.
Ilya Kalinin is an Associate Professor at Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences at St.-Petersburg State University. His researches focus on early Soviet Russia intellectual and cultural history, practices of self-fashioning of Soviet Subject and on the historical and cultural politics of contemporary Russia as well. He is editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based intellectual journal Emergency Ration: Debates on Politics and Culture. He has published in a wide range of journals and his essays were translated into several languages.