November 07, 2000

Day of Accord and Reconciliation


Day of Accord and Reconciliation

One of the most important holidays during the Soviet Era was Revolution Day. It was a time to honor and remember those who instigated the October Revolution of 1917, fought and died as a result of oppression and rebellion. On the new calendar, the date of this celebration was November 7.

On October 24, 1917 (old calendar), Lenin ordered the Smolny Institute, where the Red Guard was based, to begin the October Revolution. Battleship Aurora, came up the Neva River, firing blanks at the Hermitage, in Petrograd (St. Petersburg). Troops from the Red Army seized the Winter Palace and Bolsheviks began their control of the new Soviet state. The Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, changed the term Bolshevik to Communist. After his death, in 1924, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad.

In 1996, then President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree changing the focus of the November 7 holiday. In his opinion, Revolution Day was too negative as it focused on the countless victims of revolution. He, also, believed that the holiday split Russian society rather than unifying it. Wanting to promote the ideal that the Russian people have a common past and future, Yeltsin changed the name of the holiday to Day of Accord and Reconciliation.

Yeltsin's new holiday was met with vocal protests from the leaders of the left-wing and Communist Party in Russia. They staged marches commemorating Revolution Day featuring banners of Stalin and Lenin as well as Radovan Karadzic, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs.

On October 7, 1998, workers' protests across Russia went off with no notable violence. Roughly 10 million workers and pensioners participated, demanding Yeltsin's resignation. They burned Yeltsin in effigy and stated that they would not be satisfied until he did resign; an action that Yeltsin did not take until December 31, 1999.

The protest carried over into the Kamchatka region where workers had not been paid for 18 months. The number of protestors, on October 12, 1998, was estimated at 22,000. The current economic crisis, which began in 1998, exhausted most Russians' savings and forced them to do without, affecting their quality of life and living conditions. With the onset of the winter of '98, anger and frustration set in.

One of the most prominent figures of the revolutionary years in Russia was Leon Trotsky. A supporter of Lenin and eventual enemy of Stalin, Trotsky provided history with some of the best written accounts of the years leading up to 1917 and after, until his death in 1940. Lessons of October is highly recommended reading. It was written in 1924 as a preface to Trotsky's writings about the events of 1917.

In theory, the idea of the Russian Revolution was to do away with tsarism, unify the common people and gain, for them, basic rights and a better way of life. This is not unlike other revolutions, such as in America in the late 1700s. However, it did not turn out as well. Lenin warned the Soviet against the evils of Stalin who reigned terror over the Soviet Union for roughly 30 years. Many find it offensive to honor or glorify the Soviet Union and the revolution of which it was a result. However, the presence of a people who continue to proudly survive all adversity is most worthy of celebration.

 

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955