Of Strelkov and Stolypin: Tsarist Russia’s Last Chance

06.15.14

Of Strelkov and Stolypin: Tsarist Russia’s Last Chance

06.15.14
Ukraine

Strelkov, the military commander of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic,’ imperial adventurer and historian-with-a-gun, and Stolypin, the reforming reactionary prime minister who, I would suggest, represented tsarist Russia’s last chance for survival: two imperial(ist) figures of the moment, both of whom see the revival of something past or passing in reshaping the future, by violent means if need be. (There’s a reason why the ‘Stolypin necktie’ became a slang term for the hangman’s noose.) I mention them not just because Russian imperialism seems very much in vogue, but because of purely self-interested promotion.

I have a piece over at Russia! magazine that throws out some thoughts about Strelkov and what role he plays: ‘“War nerd,” “military romantic,” “god of war,” “monster and killer”: no one seems entirely sure what to make of Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov, the “defense minister” of the equally-unrecognized “Donetsk People’s Republic.” And so they project what they expect to see.’

And my fledgling new column for Business New Europe now has a title. The Economist has Charlemagne; BNE now has Stolypin! I hope to bring the same brand of ruthlessly clear-eyed pragmatism to bear on Stolypin, as I explore Russia’s domestic and foreign affairs each month. Even if I cannot hope to match his impressive facial hair. My most recent column, on Ukraine of course, is here.

This article was originally posted in In Moscow’s Shadows.

0 comments
0 comments
  • Greg Webb

    The Nuclear Narrative

  • Reuters

    Libya: When an Agreement Isn’t

  • Screengrab

    The Almost Indomitable Islamic State

  • Reuters

    U.S.-Turkish War on ISIS: Disaster in the Making

  • Gijs Klooster/FAO

    Climate Change and Destabilization in the MENA Region

  • Screengrab

    The Dual Threat to Tunisia’s Democratic Transition

  • Jeroen Akkermans

    The Problems with an MH17 Tribunal

  • Screengrab

    Balancing Hope and Leadership: A Lesson from the Colombian Peace Process