France and Great Britain were always rather embarrassed by their World War I alliance with autocratic Russia. It came as something of a relief, therefore, when word reached them that Czar Nikolai II’s government had collapsed in the streets of Petrograd and been succeeded by a democratic “provisional government”; they could then claim that the war pitted democracy against authoritarianism. In this volume of The Red Wheel, his novelistic history of the Russian Revolution, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn cited elated members of the French parliament: “In your revolution lies the entire future of international democracy.” More important, he pointed out, not by …
This article appears as “Revolution and Chaos” in the November 29, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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