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It seems that the most dangerous thing — for himself — that a tyrant can accomplish is to offer concessions in the face of discontent, as a long line of autocrats including Charles Stewart, Catherine the Great, Alexander II, Enver Pasha, Nicholas II and Gorbachev, not to mention Hosni Mubarak, have all found to their peril. In fact, it appears that this is the only condition under which a true revolution, characterized by a massive reshuffling of power among elites — as distinct from a palace coup, foreign occupation, or conversely its withdrawal, or a war of independence — can occur absent an existential national emergency, such as defeat or severe weakening in a major war, as for instance the events precipitating Russia 1917 and China 1949 or else effective national bankruptcy, as in France 1789 or Germany 1933.

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