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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Different Ways to Celebrate Nov. 7

APAbout 100 Communist supporters walking across Red Square on Tuesday after paying a visit to Lenin's mausoleum.
As thousands of Communists march to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution on Wednesday, Mayor Yury Luzhkov will instead mark an anniversary of the anniversary.

Luzhkov will speak at a 10 a.m. ceremony on Red Square and then lead a military parade to commemorate a historic parade that took place on the square on Nov. 7, 1941.

The 1941 event, held in honor of the Revolution, was the first to be staged following the Soviet Union's entry into World War II, and it was an act of defiance against Nazi German forces that had advanced to just 20 kilometers from Red Square.

That means, strictly speaking, that City Hall on Wednesday will mark the 66th anniversary of the 24th anniversary of the Revolution.

Confused? So are many other people. In fact, about half of all Russians have no idea why they had a day off work on Monday, according to a survey by the independent Levada Center. About a quarter thought the vacation day was to celebrate Halloween or the Day of Accord and Reconciliation, as the Nov. 7 holiday was called under President Boris Yeltsin. Only about a quarter correctly said the vacation was linked to People's Unity Day, a Nov. 4 holiday that replaced the Nov. 7 holiday in 2005. People's Unity Day marks a relatively obscure 1612 war victory.

The removal of the Nov. 7 holiday, coupled with City Hall's celebration of the 1941 parade rather than the Revolution itself, suggests that the authorities want to make it clear that revolutions are not an acceptable way to transfer power, said Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank. "[Nov. 7] is associated with the idea of a powerful opposition, and this scares the Kremlin," he said.

Communists said the authorities were just trying to draw attention away from the Revolution.

"The further away we get from this date, the more important it becomes that we remember it," said Viktor Ilyukhin, a Communist deputy in the State Duma. "There were real people working for real people to create a real world power."

Many Russians agree, according to an opinion poll published Tuesday by state-controlled VTsIOM. The largest group of those questioned, 26 percent, said the Revolution "gave impetus to social and economic development."

On Wednesday, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov will give a speech at a rally on Pushkin Square at 5 p.m., and up to 10,000 people are expected to march down Tverskaya Ulitsa to Manezh Square for a second rally afterward.

The socialist Working Russia party has been granted permission to hold a rally of 3,000 people on Ploshchad Revolyutsii. Nashi, a pro-Kremlin youth group, had planned a gathering near Red Square to celebrate an obscure date that had never been previously observed but was denied permission by city authorities, a Nashi spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Tverskaya Ulitsa and Red Square will be closed for much of Wednesday, a police spokesman said.

In Ulyanovsk, Lenin's birthplace, the authorities have organized what they are calling an Assenters' March, which some locals are criticizing as a way to shun the Revolution, Noviye Izvestia reported Tuesday.