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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Revolution Day: It's Optional

Revolution Day has fallen on hard limes in the last month.


First, nobody in the government wanted to say whether the Nov. 7 holiday, the holiest day in the Soviet calendar, would be observed. Then the president's office announced last week that Monday, Nov. 8, would indeed be a holiday since the actual date falls on a Sunday.


Hold everything, just in case you made holiday plans. The prime minister's office on Tuesday put the burden on employers to decide whether to give employees a day off for the holiday designed to commemorate the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.


"It is up to the administrations of each company and state structure to decide whether to give workers the day off", said Irina Tarasova, a spokeswoman at Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's office.


The holiday has been a political football ever since the Oct. 3-4 Moscow uprising was put down and various communist organizations were banned. Officials still have not decided what to call the day or whether the city will organize any traditional festivities.


It is the only public day off between June 12 and New Year's Day.


The now-defunct parliament used to make decisions regarding public holidays.


"The authorities clearly did not want to take any decisions so they left it up to us to decide whether or not we wanted to work", said Dmitry Ostalsky, editor in chief of the liberal newspaper Segodnya. "It is absurd to commemorate this holiday after the October events", he said. "Officials obviously avoided the question as best they could". Ostalsky added that he had to promise his printers double wages so that their Tuesday issue would go to press.


Managers of shops, theaters and other public places reached by telephone Tuesday said that they would remain closed, while most private companies said they would treat Monday as a normal working day.


During a stormy meeting between leaders of pro-communist parties and city officials Tuesday at the mayor's office, authorities reiterated that all demonstrations connected with the holiday would be banned in the city center and any organizers would be detained.


Pro-communist leaders criticized the ban, denouncing it as unconstitutional. They added that they could not be held responsible for any possible clashes between defiant demonstrators and police.


Sergei Dontsov, a mayoral spokesman, recommended that demonstrators meet at the Luzhniki Stadium.


"So you can round us up into the stadium, and shoot us more easily", was the reaction from a communist leader at the meeting.


Boris Gunko, secretary of the Moscow committee of the Russian Communist Party, said his party and other pro-communist movements had not yet decided whether to obey the orders.