Yesterday, Dec. 16, was 104 years since the State Duma of #Russia's Imperial government closed for the last time. Opened in April 1906 as part of the reforms after the 1905 rebellion (triggered by the war loss to Japan), it was a shocking infusion of liberalism to the Tsardom.
So many what-ifs with Russia, even up to the end. If Nicholas II had not taken direct control at the front in September 1915, or if somebody had murdered Rasputin earlier - which might have stopped Nicholas going to the front (he did it partly to get away from Court intrigues).
The political reforms in #Russia after 1905 were serious, and on the economic side the industrialisation of the country was even more successful - it's one of the reasons the Germans were content with war in 1914; it would have been impossible to win by 1917 or perhaps 1916.
The reforms in #Russia after 1905, the greater openness of the system, coincided with a wave of revolutionary terrorism at a scale in the last fifteen years of the Tsar's reign it is difficult to convey. The Okhranka did its best, but was hampered for all kinds of reasons.
Returning to the what-ifs: had the combination of the Somme and the Brusilov offensive broken the German lines and ended the First World War in the summer of 1916: could it have stemmed the slide into revolution in #Russia? Maybe not. But maybe.
In the end, too many things came together and the Tsar could not hang on; with him out of the picture the Imperial governance structure could not hold. In the face of German intrigues and Lenin's fanaticism, the Provisional Government did not stand a chance; a great shame.

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More from @KyleWOrton

20 Nov
100 years ago on Nov. 17, the last major component of the counter-revolutionary White Guards led by General Pyotr Wrangel left Crimea in steam ships, essentially marking the triumph of the Bolsheviks, three years after their coup, a disaster the world still hasn't recovered from. Image
The Allies supported the White Guards in #Russia from 1918 primarily as a means of pressuring the Bolsheviks into re-opening the Eastern Front against Germany, meaning the incentive collapsed once the Armistice in the Great War was signed, except with Winston Churchill.
Most of the Allies failed to recognise that the Bolshevik regime was a menace in and of itself, one far worse than the Kaiser, and thus the support for the White Guards was limited and listless. By the end of 1919, the counter-revolutionaries were in disarray.
Read 7 tweets
3 Nov
So, it has come to this, the central question:

Are the Trumpists and Republicans (and not-a-few Democrats) right to doubt the polls that show #Biden winning an overwhelming victory over #Trump?

Keeping all musings on this momentous occasion in this thread.
Well, here we go
These early results are not entirely as it might have been wished they would be
Read 206 tweets
24 Aug
#OTD 1572: On the eve of St. Bartholomew's Day, the Catholic leadership in #France decapitated the Protestant elite in Paris, and initiated a wave of mob slaughter throughout the country. The Roman Pope had medals and art made to celebrate this as part of the Counter-Reformation. Image
The most immediate Protestant target of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 was Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, despised by key elements of the Catholic leadership for personal as well as sectarian reasons dating back a decade to the origins of the Wars of Religion. Image
Historian Barbara Diefendorf pieces together the situation in Paris on the eve of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre: a Catholic population primed with an essentially genocidal fury at the presence of Protestants, awaiting the slightest signal to act: Image
Read 5 tweets
27 Jul
Working on a project the last couple of months about the history of #Al_Qaeda and where it is now. A big takeaway: there has probably never been a moment when the group is so manipulated, influenced, and even controlled in places by state powers.
The role of state intelligence services in manipulating and using terrorist groups for their own ends remains nearly absent in Terrorism Studies; most people even think it's all "conspiracy theory" talk. But it's such a massive operational factor that this is weird.
.@ReuelMGerecht once wrote that the 'nonstate' actor ... designation [of Al-Qaeda] was always more myth than fact". If he overstated, it wasn't by much.…
Read 12 tweets
7 Jun
An extraordinary artefact in the West's Cultural Revolution >> Just watch what this crowd does to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, in every way a Leftist supporter of this movement, when he would not support abolishing the police department.
Western Cultural Revolution, example 2:
Any decent Cultural Revolution needs a thorough purge of books that contain Wrong Think; the West's is no different:
Read 10 tweets
27 Mar
#MEK should not be called "Iranian opposition". Historically, operationally, and ideologically they are part of the same Islamist revolutionary trend that currently governs #Iran, and a MEK regime would not be noticeably different to the Islamic Republic.
At best #MEK is Trotsky to #Khomeini's Stalin, an opposition *within* the regime that lost a power struggle and wishes, from exile, to displace the ruler of the old country, while not significantly changing the actual system.
The difference in this analogy is that it is far from clear that in #Iran the Stalin figure lost out: MEK's antagonism to Khomeini was because he was not extreme enough in his revolutionary rule.
Read 9 tweets

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