Yesterday, November 7, was the 84th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. While the day remains an official holiday in Russia, exactly five years ago yesterday then President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree renaming it the Day of Accord and Reconciliation.
In Moscow, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) and other communist groups, including the radical Working Russia movement, marked the day with protest demonstrations. The November 7 leftist protests became something of a tradition during the 1990s, featuring demonstrators who marched with portraits of Lenin and Stalin, decried the collapse of the Soviet Union and ritually denounced Yeltsin and his team of “reformers.” While participants in yesterday’s march did much the same, the objects of wrath for many of them were Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov’s cabinet, President Vladimir Putin and the U.S.-led antiterrorism coalition, with some demonstrators even voicing support for Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban movement and Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden. According to the Moscow police, approximately 10,000 protesters turned out for the communist actions.
At the same time, the pro-Putin youth movement Idushiye Vmestye (Moving Together) held a march of its own in the Russian capital, aimed at, in the words of organizers, cleaning Russia of “political rubbish.” An estimated 10,000 members of the movement marched through central Moscow, picking up litter along the way (Polit.ru, RBK, ORT, November 7). As was the case with the pro-Putin demonstration led by Idushiye Vmestye last May, some participants in yesterday’s march suggested that they had been enticed to join the group and to participate in the march by such things as free cinema and concert tickets (TV-6, November 7; see also the Monitor, May 8). Both the leftist opposition parties and Idushiye Vmestye held demonstrations yesterday in other Russian cities.
Meanwhile, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, members of the Moscow city government, deputies from the Moscow City Duma and veterans of the Great Patriotic War–as the Second World War is known in Russia–laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the statue of General Georgy Zhukov, located on the capital’s Manezh Square. They were commemorating the 60th anniversary of the military parade held in Moscow on November 7, 1941. After they laid the wreaths, the veterans took part in a march on Red Square (RIA Novosti, November 7).
MOST RUSSIANS STILL SEE NOVEMBER 7 AS REVOLUTION DAY.