SPOILED FOR CHOICE IN SARATOV.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 211
Activists of no fewer than three Communist parties addressed the 2,500 demonstrators who gathered in the center of Saratov on November 7 to mark the 80th anniversary of the October Revolution. They represented the Russian Communist Party, which is far and away Russia’s largest political party; the much smaller and more radical Russian Communist Workers’ Party; and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which reconstituted itself at a conference in Moscow only one week ago. The Monitor’s correspondent in Saratov says that while, as in the past, nostalgia was the dominant mood, this year’s demonstration differed in the sharpness of the criticisms leveled not only at the federal government but also at the regional governor, Dmitry Ayatskov. Protesters were angered both by President Yeltsin’s proposal to remove Lenin’s corpse from its Red Square mausoleum and also by proposals to remove the statue of Lenin from Saratov’s main square, where the demonstration was held. In addition, the meeting appealed to local lawmakers to reject an Ayatskov-sponsored bill legalizing the sale of agricultural land that will shortly receive its second reading in the oblast Duma. Plans were discussed to picket the Duma and to collect signatures in support of a referendum calling for Ayatskov’s ouster.
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