The specter of civil war is often raised in prognostications about the future of the Soviet Union, the great guessing game of the late twentieth century. When asked about the possibility, Andrei Sakharov could only gasp and quote Pushkin: “God save us from a Russian revolt, merciless and blind.” But the question is posed in the wrong tense because the Soviet Union has been in a state of civil war ever since the October revolution.
Officially, the Russian Civil War lasted fr...
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