- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 November 7 , 2003 

We, children of October: A reflection on an (almost) forgotten holiday

There was a day -- this one during the Breshnev era -- when Armenia celebrated the Day of Revolution..

Today, our former "Soviet society" if not celebrating, at least recalls the Great October Revolution that had marked the beginning of the Bolshevik Regime.

November 7 is still a "red-letter day" on many calendars. But only in the cradle of revolution, in Russia, and even there it has been renamed "A Day of Reconciliation and Concord". "Reconciliation with whom?" critics often mock.

But is it possible not to mock when the matter concerns the event that has changed the course of historical development? The wish arises to say "the natural course of historical development".

If the revolution of 1917 didn't take place then it wouldn't be "so cruelly painful for aimlessly spent years," believe many of us whose fates were shaped by October.

The general mindset seems to be: "Because of the revolution we had been in degradation for more than 70 years and as a result we found ourselves thrown back to the edge of civilization…". Any opinion can be supported by arguments and facts. But who knows for sure what would have happened if the October Revolution hadn't taken place? And is it so important now to theorize? Rejecting the revolution of 1917 it's not likely that we, Post-Soviet people living in the Post-Soviet space, reject revolution (as a means of systematic change) itself. From time to time Bolshevist calls like "dethrone", "expropriate", "crash contra" (short for counterrevolutionaries) can be heard in different parts of Post-Soviet expanses. And "the spark will kindle a flame" is clear to minds and near to hearts of everyone "from Moscow to remote parts of the country" (as our well-remembered communist anthem told us) .

Unlike Russia, November 7 is an ordinary working day in Armenia and in many other republics. It is a holiday in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. However, residents of Kyrgyzstan celebrate the Day of their Press but not the Revolution of 1917.

Yes, the "press" (imprint) of October is still strong. It manifests itself in our mentality, our manners, in the way we think, talk and even walk and look. And despite that today a unified Country of Soviets doesn't exist anymore, a unified "homo soveticus" mentality brings us together and it's harder to change it than to change a regime. And still the same cadres, who came from one Soviet "grey-coat", are now heading former republics of the USSR. And something different couldn't happen as independent countries are too young. Those who were born in modern times, haven't reached "decisive" age yet. And those who were raised with ideas of October, are yet young enough to lead, but not so old as to forget the "lessons" they were taught.

"It looks like in the nearest future people will be talking about 'bright 70 year period of Soviet power' as about, for instance, The Hundred Years' War. Everybody learned in school that there was a war like that but nobody, except specialists, can tell when it took place, who started it and why," a Russian newspaper recently opined.

The wish for oblivion doesn't seem to be the best way "to take revenge" on October. And attempts to pretend that it never happened won't help either. At least middle and older generations can't do that. In their turn young people escape from October with the help of jokes and bywords. There are thousands of postcards in the Internet with pictures of the Leader of Revolution, Lenin, on them for those who like "red" symbols. There are also anecdotes and other entertaining stuff - jokes about something that wasn't funny. But again it is information. And it means you don't even think about forgetting it. For instance Kazakhs "forget" about October of 1917 the following way:

"At the Day November Seven
Russia chilled for three days more
We are cool with that therefore
We forgot it long ago"

International "informal youth" dedicate their hymns of protest to the revolution. Of course, for the protest they have to look through the pages of history:

"Year seventeen was mean
it caused dirty mess
but could you ever guess
cool man nicknamed Lenin
Stood at the border stone,
Rapping that Tsar is alien . . .

If it is a protest then it's peculiar enough. It is a rather new and uncovered look at the historical records where Lenin is the main club kid. And it is another story that was the result of that "party" and how it influenced us.

No matter how trivial it sounds, one cannot change or rewrite history. The wisest is to become reconciled with it. Concord and reconciliation are not just alphabet soup in the name of this Russian holiday. It is as absurd to fight with your own history as to try to forget it. And why should we forget? It turned to be that we are children of October. Therefore after remembering fatal 1917 let's take a look at the future. Let's make it plain, as we used to say as little Soviet Pioneers: "Go forth! The bugle sounds!"

According to Agnes
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Holy Land

The blessing of the territory for a new church in Masis took place this week. It will be the first dominical temple in this town (for years it has been populated by Azerbaijanis) and the second biggest after the St. Grigor Lusavorich in Yerevan. The construction is estimated at $1 million and is sponsored by "Vardanyan Family" foundation.



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