Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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November 6, 2001
Russia Celebrates November Seventh Holiday Along With Its Neighbors
‘Red Calendar Day’ celebrated throughout CIS

By Alexander Rubtsov

Only Belarus and Moldova celebrate November 7 as a state holiday in the old style - Revolution Day. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko congratulated the citizens of his republic on Tuesday on the occasion of the 84th anniversary of the October Revolution. Moldova is a bit of an oddity here, in the sense that for the first time following a ten-year lapse, it has once again declared November 7 as the day of the Great October Revolution.

In Russia, November 7 has become "National Reconciliation Day", with leftist political parties holding their traditional meetings. As far as the people themselves are concerned, the older generation - if it celebrates the day at all - most often does so under its old name. Middle-aged and younger Russians tend to view the day as just another holiday, without racking their brains as to what it all means in terms of political significance.

Interestingly, the word "revolution' itself - in terms of the "October days that shook the world' - has undergone semantic changes as well. The word "revolution' is now often replaced with "coup'. In Ukraine, a public hearing has been planned for the 84th anniversary: "Communism On Trial - Nuremburg 2".

In Uzbekistan, November 8 will be celebrated as Constitution Day of the Republic, and in Georgia, November 7 will no longer be a holiday but a regular workday just like any other. Georgia isn't much in the mood for celebrating anyway.

For the most part, and for many people, the holiday will remain an opportunity to remember one's youth and the past - in all its joys and sorrows. Everyone can celebrate what memories remain. The most important thing is that it remain a personal holiday - not a political vehicle.

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