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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Will Russians Still Mark 1917?

The October uprising, or the storming of the White House, or whatever history decides to call what happened in Moscow earlier this month has left a lot of confusion in its wake.


And along with weighty matters like the future of Russia, more mundane concerns that affect people's lives are up in the air. For example: Will Russia continue to celebrate Revolution Day? For the time being, nobody knows.


For 75 years, Nov. 7 has been the highlight of the autumn calendar, the only public holiday before New Year. It was never missed; if Revolution Day fell on a Sunday, as it does this year, workers got the next day off, and everyone celebrated.


In the Communist era, there were red-flag marches past the Politburo members, all standing atop the Lenin Mausoleum. In the days of glasnost, there were pro-reform marches, like the one in 1990 when everyone walked round the Garden Ring in the freezing cold for hours and hours. and last year the "red-browns", the now defeated left and right extremists, staged a noisy but small demonstration on Manezh Square.


Since Yeltsin's victory over the hardliners, steps have been taken to try to erase everything connected with the Bolshevik Revolution that took place on Nov. 7 under the present calendar, or Oct. 25 under the Julian calendar that was in force here in 1917.


Lenin's museum has been shut down, his tomb stripped of its honor guard, and the Yeltsin administration is muttering discreetly about what to do with the stuffed corpse.


But only communists get upset about that. The question of a day off is something that affects everyone in Moscow, including the bureaucrats who say they still do not know whether or not they will get to stay home. The president's press office says it is a local decision. But a telephone call to Mayor Yury Luzhkov's press section is no more enlightening.


"I have absolutely no idea", said a bored press man. "No, I don't know when we will know. Ask the prime minister's office".


"We have no information on this subject", was the reply at the office of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.


Is there no incentive to find out? A woman at the Interior Ministry laughed at the query. "We at the Interior Ministry don't decide things", she says. "We get told by someone else what to do".


The Moscow police were also in the dark but showed some imagination.


"Well, I don't know", a police spokesman said. "But maybe they can change the name and give us a holiday called something else.


"Isn't Lent in November? "