November 7, 1917 Bolsheviks seized state power in Russia. Before the fall of communism this event was celebrated in Russia as Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution. November 7th used to be the most important national holiday in USSR, as the day of the beginning of a new “communist era”. That day begun with military parades in large cities and millions of people all over USSR participated in the state organized mass celebrations, singing and dancing in the streets.
It is no longer an official holiday.
This week a correspondent of Radio Liberty asked children of different ages in the streets of Kirov (a city with a population of 500,000) what was celebrated on November 7, and what was the Russian Revolution about. None of the children were able to answer these questions.
Nevertheless some political activity on the date never stopped in large Russian cities.
In Moscow last year, there were two demonstrations of the Left. The official procession of the Communist Party was attended by about two thousand people, mostly pensioners. The alternative Red March was attended by about a thousand people – members of the breakaway Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party; the anarchists, anarchy-nationalist organization Freemen; and members of the party Other Russia marching under the banner “Take away from wealthy and share!”
This year it was raining in Moscow on November 7. Nevertheless, 1,500 people participated in the traditional Communist Party demonstration, officially permitted by the government.
The woman holds a poster: “Our homeland was great when it was Soviet!”
The organizers of the March of the alternative Left parties were not able to obtain official permission for their demonstration this year. Several hundreds of these activists still participated in an unapproved demonstration which was dispersed by police. Six participants were arrested.
In the different area of Moscow the activists of the Red–Black block also tried to have an unapproved meeting. Twenty one of them were arrested.
The most spectacular of all the events of the November 7 this year in Moscow has been the demonstration of anarchists. Late in the evening fifty anarchists held a procession, unapproved by the government. They were holding burning torches, smoke bombs and the banner “Forgot about the Revolution, bourgeois? We can remind you.” None of those participants had been detained.