This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
1917 revolution in Russia: experts’ view
Official Russia’s New View of the Revolution 1917 History
Unity Three years ago Russia introduced a new public holiday designed to rally its citizens and overcome ideological differences
For 90 years Russia has tried to
establish itself as a unified nation
It takes more than a presidential order to close Russia’s revolutionary chap-
ter. Tensions in society, inherited from Communist ideology, have not signi-
ficantly abated. The two forces that clashed in 1917 had radically different
values, including opposing notions of good and evil. The Communist regime
was based on a new code of social morality, with moral, ideological and
humanitarian values that took deep root in society. Casting off these values
proved a painful process for millions, though the truth of how the Bolsheviks
built their new society are no longer secret. The millions of “enemies of the
people” who were executed, and millions more sent to the gulags, amount
to a genocide against the people. Most Russians will have to come to terms
with this history to achieve civil peace. How long will this take?
etc), but never with address- realise that accord is not to
ing a specific social and po- be sought between political
litical objective such as “ac- forces competing among
Russia celebrated National cord and reconciliation” or themselves, but at a higher
Unity Day for the third time. “public unity”. level of public conscious-
Although the holiday is still No doubt periods of crisis ness, where democracy and
in its infancy, its historical may give rise to either or its related procedures are
roots are as complex as those both of these, but only for a unquestionable values.
of the country itself. limited time. Russian histo- Inter-ethnic relations are
The new holiday was intro- ry had such periods: the Pol- another field of contention
duced in 2005 to replace the ish intervention in 1612- in present-day Russia. Ac-
November 7 anniversary of 1613, Napoleon’s invasion cording to experts, 395 peo-
the Bolshevik 1917 October of 1812, and the 1941-1945 ple have been injured and 40
Revolution, which was war against Nazism, were killed in racially motivated
clumsily renamed “Accord all crises when the expul- attacks in 35 Russian re-
and Reconciliation Day” in sion of foreign invaders, and gions in 2007. This subject
the 1990s. indeed the very survival of is so painful that it calls for
Nothing is more contrary to the country, would have a separate discussion. For
the events of 1917 than “ac- been impossible without the moment it is worth not-
cord and reconciliation”. public unity and accord. But ing one cause of inter-eth-
“The bloody gesture of the each time, the unity and ac- nic tension – an attempt to
20th century,” as one émigré cord proved temporary. place the blame for poor liv-
poet defined it, left Russia Russian society today is not ing standards on external
divided, plunged it into a and internal enemies, in-
civil war, drove its finest stead of where it belongs…
representatives out of the The ‘public unity’ on the authorities.
country, and divided the
Russia has rushed
Such an approach is coun-
once great and unified Rus-
sian culture into two irrec-
to celebrate is as yet
ter-productive in a country
oncilable camps.
merely a goal to be
where even administrative
territorial division takes
Historical reality has added reached into account ethnic factors.
nothing meaningful to the Another obstacle to public
newly established holiday, unity is the gap between rich
which does not have much remarkable for its solidarity and poor. The richest 10pc
actual or even symbolic or cohesion, yet the need for of Russians earn over 20
background. these qualities exists and is times more than do the poor-
Chronicles tell us that No- keenly felt. It is impossible, est 10pc. Despite the petro-
vember 4, 1612 (October 22 however, to create them arti- dollar bonanza, the lack of
according to the Julian cal- ficially, as the authorities financial security felt by the
endar used in Russia until often try through top-down majority of the population
1917), was an ordinary day. directives. Public consensus continues to be an obvious
One of the most difficult pe- in peacetime is achieved by threat to the fabric of soci-
riods in Russian history, the agreeing on common objec- ety. Moreover, it is a threat
“Time of Troubles”, would tives and, failing that, to national security, because
end several years later. True, through the speedy resolu- poverty damages the credi-
on October 22 of that year a tion of social conflicts and bility of the state, and can
people’s militia expelled the their consequences. produce a kind of “public
occupying Polish garrison In politics a stable structure unity” with a very negative,
from Moscow. But the Poles is one that takes in various destructive charge.
retreated to the Kremlin, interests, however conflict- The “public unity” Russia
and did not surrender until ing or diverse, and allows has rushed to celebrate is as
a month later. them to compete freely and yet merely a goal to be
Traditionally, national hol- openly against one another, reached, not an achievement. NIKOLAY KOROLEV_RBTH
idays are linked with histor- including for parliamentary How fast it will be achieved The newly restored Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on the banks of the Moscow River in Moscow, concecrated in 2000. The original cathedral was built by the architect Kon-
ical events (the storming of seats. is a question to be addressed stantin Ton between 1839 and 1881 to commemorate Russia’s victory over Napoleon in the Napoleonic Wars. The church was blown up on Stalin’s orders in 1931, and the site
the Bastille, gaining inde- But while it builds such a both to the authorities and cleared for the proposed Palace of Soviets on top of which would stand a colossal statue of Lenin. However, due to numerous technical difficulties the building was never actu-
pendence, winning a war structure, Russia has yet to the people.
ally constructed and the site was instead devoted to the creation of an outdoor swimming pool.
Should Lenin be buried?
The embalmed remains of the be moved were heard after the
leader of the October Revolution 1991 break-up of the Soviet
in a mausoleum on Red Square Union, although the first protests
is, for many, one memory too far. came as early as 1924 – from
While the Kremlin is firm, saying his widow Nadezhda Krupskaya,
removing the body is not open and brother Dmitry Ulyanov, who
to discussion, it is unlikely that didn’t want the body in the Mau-
the issue is closed, even though, soleum. There is a precedent.
from his first day as President, On October 31, 1961, following
Vladimir Putin argued against Khrushchev’s exposure of his
the removal. He feels committal “cult of personality”, the author-
of his body to the ground “would ities decided to move Stalin’s
make many believe that their body in secret. It was done amid
lives had been wasted”. Nev- tight security and under the pre-
ertheless, according to Public text of rehearsing a November 7
Opinion Foundation figures, the parade, because the authorities
idea of burying Lenin has more feared there would be protests.
supporters than opponents Contrary to fears, the news was ANATOLIY SEMEKHIN_ITAR-TASS OLEG PROSOLOV_RG
(46pc to 29pc). Disputes over received calmly. Yekaterinburg’s “Church on the Blood”, on the spot in the Ural Lenin’s Mausoleum, in Red Square in Moscow. Vladimir Lenin’s embalmed body has been on public display there since the year he died,
whether Lenin’s body should mountains where the last tsar and his family were executed on July 1924. Aleksey Shchusev’s diminutive but monumental granite structure incorporates some elements from ancient mausoleums, such as
17, 1918. the Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.
“Decision on Kosovo must
not humiliate anyone.
Tune daily to
Otherwise it’ll be a wrong decision”
The Voice of Russia’s
Tell us what topics to cover!
We welcome letters to editor
Sergey Yastrzhembsky, President’s Aide, about
English Hour in London
Russian position on Kosovo problem
558 kHz at 1 p.m.
Read on November 29
Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8
Produced with Yudu -