ONE HUNDRED YEARS ARE ENOUGH

WOJCIECH DUDKIEWICZ

Although the anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution was complete, the former communists could only dream about those past celebrations. The Communist Party of the Russia Federation commemorated the Bolshevik coup in Moscow from 1917 with a march and a meeting but it was seen that the power of communists and atmosphere – were not as they used to be.

TV cameras registered USSR flags and portraits of Lenin and Stalin carried by activists of the Communist Party of the Russia Federation but summarizing the heritage of revolutionary events from 100 years ago by the leader of the party Giennadij Ziuganow turned out weak, as it is especially seen with bare eye outside Moscow. However Ziuganow pointed to achievements of the Soviet and post-soviet country in the sphere of science and technology and also the role of USSR in overcoming Germany in the Second World War.

It seems that effort made to win against Germany is the main direction of historic policy of Putin’s Russia which was seen during the official military parade joined with historic reconstruction on the Red Square.

Troublesome jubilee

The dialectic direction of the Russian elite governing till the events of 1917 is seen not from yesterday but now it has become quite clear. One is looking at communist heritage, including the Bolshevik revolution, in a different way than the quarter of a century ago. The very revolution as a historic phenomenon is evaluated by the authorities rather negatively, and it results from the interests of Kremlin. Since 1996 the day of 7 November has been celebrated as the Day of Agreement and National Reconciliation and in 200 it stopped being a festive day.

It is impossible to reject the heritage of 1917 completely as it is important for the historic-cultural identity of Russia – after all something must join the inhabitants of this country! But there is no sign after accepting revolutionary methods as a weapon of the political tool. Revolution used to be good in the past. Today any kind of revolt against the authority is not accepted but is fought.

It is not possible to separate Bolshevik revolution from the soviet heritage– as the Warsaw Centre of Eastern Studies notes in the elaboration ‘The hundredth anniversary of the October revolution – troublesome jubilee’; Putin’s national ideology refers to it and symbolism of the revolution is still present in the public space which is proven by numerous monuments, like the mausoleum on the Red Square in Moscow.

Founding myth

The ambiguous attitude of political elites of Russia towards the Bolshevik revolution was reflected in the attitude of the authorities towards the anniversary celebrations. They planned the program of celebrations for the whole year, whose coordinator was the Russian Historic Society (at the helm of….the chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service Siergieh Naryszkin), including conferences, exhibitions, TV shows and publications, but they concerned both revolutions: the Bolshevik one – the October one and ‘the bourgeois one’ – the February one. And, in addition, in Kremlin there were not any jubilee celebrations. Gradual departing from treating the Bolshevik revolution as a founding myth of the contemporary Russian nationality – initiated in the 90s of the last century, within judgment of communism – is still going on. political establishment treats the revolution with less and less esteem, pointing to a number of victims of the revolutionary terrorism and illegal character of taking over the authority by the Bolsheviks. Only the communist party has been defending the achievements of the October revolution till today, carrying portraits of Lenin.

Also Władimir Putin, who considers the collapse of the Soviet Union as the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of XX century, expressed his critical opinion about a way of taking over and holding the authority by the Bolsheviks, as well as the political system of the Soviet country whose collapse had been envisaged.

‘Stand up, big country’

Therefore during the parade in Moscow on 7 November this year, despite any allegations, the triumph of the Bolsheviks was not celebrated. In the centre there was an event of that day, but not from the year 1917, but from 1941 when there was a parade whose participants went to the frontier running nearby Moscow then, a few dozen kilometers from Kremlin, and Stalin rejected the communist rhetoric and reached out to patriotic symbols, in order to mobilize crowds of people to fight.

Reconstructors were wearing helmets from the Second World War, not Red Army hats from the times of the coup of the war with ‘the whites’. Episodes of fights against the Germans, not ‘the whites’ were reconstructed. Instead of the words ‘from Moscow to Zamostia there were white bones lying’, one could hear ‘Stand up, big country!’. The founding myth of today’s Russian nationality is to be effort put into the ‘great homeland war’ and the victory over Nazis Germany, not the Bolshevik revolution.

AA

„Niedziela” 47/2017

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • Translation: Aneta Amrozik • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl