The Russian Power Struggle of 1973-1978

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty

The Russian Power Struggle of 1973-1978, also known as the Interim Period, was a significant period in the history of the Russian National Republic, marked by political instability and a dramatic and unexpected shift in power. The crisis began with the orchestrated arrest of Chairman Ilya Kiselev and other officials during the "Great Bureaucratic Cleansing" in 1973 and ended with the first free elections in Russia in 1978, which led to the rise of opposition leader Sergey Gromov.


Removal of Ilya Kiselev from power

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).

Sjimjang nuclear disaster (1971) and Russian corruption

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.

Arrest of Ilya Kiselev (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 a dramatic turn of events, Kiselev was betrayed by members of the Committee of National Affairs, led by Yevgeny Petrov, and arrested in 1973.

The power struggle

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.

Induction of opposition members into the Committee of National Affairs

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.

Failed Assassination of Gromov

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.

Push for Reform and Free Elections

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.


Reaction of Britain

Britain closely monitored the power struggle with a mixture of hope and caution. The British government, led by Prime Minister <FIRSTNAME LASTNAME>, saw the unfolding events as a potential opportunity to usher in a new era of cooperation between the two nations and a chance to settle longstanding issues that had fueled the Silent War.

The Prime Minister and other high-ranking British officials were optimistic that the political crisis in Russia might lead to a more moderate, reform-minded government that would be more open to dialogue and cooperation with the ODN. This optimism was tempered by a sense of caution, as the British government understood the fragile and unpredictable complexities of Russian politics and the potential for the situation to take a more adversarial turn.

Schism in the National Republican world

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Scholarly analysis: Causes of Yevgeny Petrov's failure

Many scholars have analyzed the power struggle in Russia from 1973 to 1978, with most attributing the failure to Yevgeny Petrov's inexperience and inability to control the situation. Petrov, who had orchestrated the conspiracy to arrest Chairman Ilya Kiselev, was viewed as a weak, indecisive, and impulsive leader. His shortcomings as a leader led to a series of unfortunate events that culminated in the dramatic political crisis.

One of the key factors that contributed to Petrov's failure was his inability to maintain control over the stronger personalities within the Committee of National Affairs (CNA). As the opposition gained traction and popularity, Petrov was increasingly strong-armed by other members of the CNA who saw the opportunity to seize power and advance their own agendas. Another factor that contributed to Petrov's failure was his impulsive decision to attempt an assassination of opposition leader Sergey Gromov. This assassination attempt was unsuccessful, and it only served to weaken Petrov's position further, as it galvanized public support for Gromov and the opposition.

Some scholars have also pointed to the overall climate of distrust and discontent in Russia during this period as a contributing factor to the failure of Petrov's plans. The revelations of widespread corruption and inefficiency within the Russian government had already eroded public confidence in the ruling party. As a result, the Russian people were more receptive to the opposition's message and calls for change.

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