The Revolutionary Roots of Russia's War

Ukraine needs to defeat Russia's nationalism

With the war in Ukraine evolving into a protracted ground-based war of attrition, the true origins of the conflict remain contested. Undoubtedly Putin's will was the defining factor, but what motivated that will? And does the Russian imperial spirit have a deeper origin? Lasha Tchantouridzé argues that the current conflict is a result of an unresolved Russian chauvinism that once provoked fear in the hearts of Soviet leadership.


The war in Ukraine serves as an arena where two major unresolved problems of the Russian Revolution of 1917 have come to the forefront. One can be described as the challenge of establishing Russian statehood. The other was known to the Russian revolutionaries as the threat of “great Russian chauvinism.” These two problems were critical for the Russian Marxist-Leninists as they were fighting not only the supporters of the ancient regime but also trying to define statehood for the new communist nation. While many commentators have

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