Russian Lustrum

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Russian Lustrum
Part of the Silent War
Date 22 March 1973 – 9 September 1978
(5 years, 6 months, 2 days)
Caused by
Resulted in
  • Ilya Kiselev arrested and deposed (1973)
  • Interim rule of the Committee of National Affairs (1973–1975)
  • First democratic elections in Russia (1978)
  • Sergey Gromov elected Chairman (1978)
Committee of National Affairs

The Russian Lustrum (Russian: резкий переходный, Rézkij Perechodnij, 'the Abrupt Transition'), also known as the Russian interim of 1973–1978, was a crucial moment in the history of the Russian National Republic, marked by a dramatic and unexpected shift in power. The crisis began with the planned deposition of Chariman Ilya Kiselev and his affiliates in 1973 and ended with the unequivocal election of opposition leader Sergey Gromov as Chairman in 1978 as a result of the first free elections in Russia.


Prior to the power struggle, Russia was governed by hardliner Chairman Ilya Kiselev. During Kiselev's tenure as the head of state, the Silent War had already been underway, and tensions between Russia and Great Britain and other ODN member states were further exacerbated by proxy conflicts sanctioned by Kiselev, such as the Numidian-Algerian War (1957-1958) and the Russo-Persian War (1960-1963).

In 1971, the Sjimjang nuclear power plant in Corea, which was sponsored by Russia, suffered a nuclear disaster, causing widespread radiation and health concerns. The accident contributed to an already growing global movement of nuclear skepticism, which in turn contributed to a rise in global oil prices. An investigation into the incident revealed the use of substandard materials in the plant's construction, and eventually brought public attention to the widespread corruption within the Russian government. Despite efforts to cover up the scandal, the Russian government was unable to hide the pervasive corruption, and the public became increasingly distrustful of the government.

Bureaucratic cleansing of 1973

As the scandal continued to unfold, distrust against Russia grew among several National Republican factions abroad. Once several prominent members of the Russian government realized it could no longer hide the incident and the pervasive corruption, they decided to shift the blame to Chairman Ilya Kiselev.

In 1973, Yevgeny Petrov, a key member of the Committee of National Affairs (CNA), orchestrated the arrest of Kiselev and other officials, known as the Great Bureaucratic Cleansing. This event was a thinly-veiled coup, allowing the CNA to take control of the government and run the country according to their own interests.

CNA administration: 1973–1975

To gain public support and give off the facade of a functioning and inclusive government, Petrov suggested inducting several members of the opposition into the CNA in 1974, including the popular opposition leader Sergey Gromov. However, Petrov underestimated Gromov's political acumen and ability to influence other members of the CNA. He promoted for government reforms that were wildly popular among the Russian public and even among members in the Russian National Republican Party.

At the height of his popularity in 1975, an unsuccessful assassination plot was carried out against Gromov, resulting in rumors implicating Yevgeny Petrov. Although no conclusive evidence was presented to prove his involvement, the suspicion of Petrov's complicity in the scheme became widely known. The failed assassination attempt ultimately proved to be counterproductive, as it not only failed to eliminate Gromov as a political threat but also contributed to an increase in his popularity, while simultaneously causing significant damage to Petrov's reputation.

Gromov's triumph: 1975–1978

Under mounting pressure from both the public and several members of the CNA who sided with Gromov, Petrov and his allies reluctantly agreed to hold free elections, in the hopes of maintaining some influence in the new political landscape. When the elections were held in 1978, Gromov's faction won a majority in the National Congress, effectively putting him in control of the government and completing the unexpected shift in power.

See also