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Weary of political change at home, Vladimir Putin has done his best to ignore the centenary of Russia's 1917 Revolution. My name is Andrew Osborn, I am Reuters Chief Russia Correspondent. Today is just another normal working day for Mr. Putin, and the Kremlin itself has said that it is organizing no commemorative events.
In part that is because Mr. Putin is expected to run for reelection next year and is expected to win and he is facing, of course, opposition at home. There have been a number of protests this year in Russia, those protests have been put down by the Russian riot police.
The last thing that Mr. Putin wants is a public discussion about overthrowing people. Russian society, put bluntly, is split over the centenary. There are those, particularly older people, they look back with nostalgia, with fondness. However, there are many people today, particularly in urban centers, who are increasingly aware and unhappy about the country's Soviet past.
And there is more a focus today on the dark side of Soviet history. Putin's own feelings about the Revolution are, as he puts it, ambiguous. He has, in the past, cherry picked the parts of Soviet history which suit his narrative of Russia as a great power. However, in rather rare comments last month he did actually probably more so than he has ever done before acknowledge the dark side.
The result then is a curious state of affairs. You have the communists, the Russian Communists who are really, frankly, the only people who are making a big deal out of this. It is otherwise, frankly, a non-event here in Russia, many people are unaware of the centenary today. And, frankly, nobody is really dwelling on that centenary unlike in the West where, of course, it's a much bigger event.