The October Revolution: what it means for Ukrainians



Article by: Vitaly Portnikov

A Russian thinks not of himself but of the power of the state that can conquer and humiliate other nations. For a Ukrainian, the state is simply the possibility of safeguarding his own freedom and prosperity.

During Soviet times, each anniversary of the October coup in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) was marked exactly the same way in all the union republics — in standardized fashion, as a continuing great holiday accompanying the “triumphant march of Soviet power.”

Apart from these celebrations, the histories of the nations that formed the Russian Empire developed along different paths that diverged not simply from October 1917, but from February 1917 as well. The fact is that the Bolsheviks ensured the unity of this empire not simply with ideology but with blood.

And, as the new state developed, this inhuman ideology turned into a cover for traditional Great Russian chauvinism. And we continued to live a fake history, in a falsified, fictitious reality.

It was the October 1917 coup that marked the difference between the fates of Russians and Ukrainians, the difference between their past and their future.

Before October, Ukrainian politicians who thought about prospects for their people still hoped to find a compromise and mutual understanding with Russian democracy for a certain special status for Ukraine in the new democratic state.

After the October coup, all these hopes disappeared. It became clear they were colliding with evil that does not want any compromise, which hides behind beautiful slogans about bread and peace but brings only famine and war.

It was no coincidence that the proclamation of the independence of the Ukrainian National Republic was a reaction to October, and not February, 1917. A reaction not to the revolution but to the gangster coup — because what happed in Petrograd in October was no revolution. It was not even an uprising. The Bolsheviks themselves have long acknowledged this undeniable fact.

One can argue extensively about why this divergence of fates occurred. But, in my view, the most important reason was contempt for the empire and its associated slavery. What the Russian still views as a key historical achievement, the Ukrainian views as a symbol of oppression and degradation.

The Russian thinks not of himself but of the power of the state that can conquer and humiliate other nations. This power compensates him for his own humiliation and helplessness.

For a Ukrainian, the state is simply the possibility of safeguarding his own freedom and prosperity. These are two different worlds. The world of those who followed Moses out of Egypt and the world of those who remained to live out their lives in chains and shackles, but with pride in pharaohs, pyramids and guaranteed soup.

These two worlds have nothing and can have nothing in common. Only when the army of slaves defeated the free people did they discover closeness. But closeness can develop only when neighbors refuse to celebrate slavery, when they understand that a person is an individual and not a cog in the state machinery, when they learn to respect not Lenin, Stalin, or Putin, but themselves.


Only then will Russians comprehend the ugliness of the monstrosity that arose on the ruins of the Russian Empire in October 1917.

Only then will our neighbors understand that the Ukrainian February of 1918, the August of 1991, and the February of 2014 were not accidents, not a conspiracy against the empire, not Russophobia, but the natural human aspiration for freedom that Russians still have to learn.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Source: Espreso TV


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  1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    The rise of communism in Russia and its satellites (including the People’s Republic in China and its satellites), the rise of fascism in Germany and its satellites and the rise of the totalitarian Empire in Japan were the greatest global catastrophes that occurred not only in the twentieth century but even in the past millennium.

  2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    This evil revolution ruined the 20th century for many people.

    1. Avatar Oknemfrod says:

      “Many” is an understatement.

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        Truer words were never spoken. There were over 80 million people who died needlessly as a direct result of WWII and well over 20 million who also needlessly died as a direct consequence of the tyrannical dictatorships of communist rulers in the twentieth century. However, the scope of these horrific tragedies have been largely ignored and glossed over by certain megalomaniacs such as Vladimir Putin in Russia. This vile predator in particular, cannot or will not untie the mud knots in his personal attic. But he does present himself as a unique subhuman among his subservient rodents in that he can laud Stalin and yet maintain his fascist credentials. As such, his end cannot come soon enough.

      2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        Oh yeah…

  3. Avatar veth says:

    Russians hate freedom.

  4. Avatar Mephisto says:

    Lenin was a German agent. The Germans wanted Russia out of WW1, so they sponsored bolshevism and their agent Lenin to cripple Russia by the revolution. They were much more succesful than they ever dreamed of.
    The root of all the problems of the 20th century was WW1. Some asassination of some stupid archduke. WW2 and bolshevism were just continuation/consequence of WW1

    1. Avatar Brent says:

      Why do you Russians ALWAYS blame someone else?

      When you get drunk and pass out, do you blame the person who made the vodka for you?

      1. Avatar Mephisto says:

        Don’t drink so much vodka. I am not Russian. I just stated known historical facts. Lenin was a German agent and bolshevik revolution was supported by Germany in order to cripple Russia during WW1. Just use google.

        1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

          I believe a rewording is in order. Lenin was used by German authorities to cripple the Tsar’s army but he (Lenin) himself was not a German agent as the future Russo-Kalmyk dictator wanted nothing to do with the Kaiser or Germany’s capitalist economic system. As for the Bolsheviks, they received initial support from Germany but this support was later reversed although by that time it was far too late to change the course of events in WWI.