Revolutionary blogging

Back in the USSR (as Paul McCartney once sang), November 7 was one of the two days each year (the other being May Day) when public demonstrations in support of the regime were organized in Soviet cities. The Russian bloggers on LiveJournal.ru this month took a trip down memory lane to recall the days of marching to commemorate the Revolution.

With the Russian blogosphere dominated by people under the age of 40, childhood memories tend to reflect childhood reminiscences of the Soviet period rather than profound political or philosophical comments on its symbolism and traditions. With cities grinding to a halt it is not surprising that many viewed the marching and ceremony as simply a good holiday as well as the chance to avoid school. As Romant73 said, "Back then I did not think about the ideology of this holiday, it was just a good fall holiday, a stopover in the preparation for the main celebration of the year, the new year." Scud_c agrees, emphasizing that the events in May and November were always happy occasions, "I liked walking with adults - and subconsciously I felt that I belonged to something big, even huge, and kind." This sympathetic memory of the Soviets' annual celebration is not shared by all.

User like aquarius women view the parades through less rose-tinted glasses, "I never thought of these demonstrations as a holiday, only as an obligation. The best thing about them was when they ended. And I don't remember anyone actually toasting the revolution afterwards." Others are even harsher, like xarkoff who says, "For me this is not a holiday and it never was, especially because of the consequences of this Great October Revolution."

With religion discouraged in the USSR it is appropriate that vetka_twi viewed the events as pre-Christian, "the May and November demonstrations divided the year in halves. The November one was right before the winter and often there were snowflakes falling and the general feeling of the upcoming winter in the air. My attitude was actually quite pagan, since I wasn't much into politics either then or now."

Just as children waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus are often more excited by the anticipation of his arrival than actually enjoying his gifts, so with the parades the build-up was often the most important aspect, as rastryepa says, "I always learned about the demonstration on the previous evening, when I would come home and there will be a paper flower and a couple of balloons waiting for me."

With infant memories often dominated by sound as well as vision, natka_kawaii focuses on the cheering in the crowds, "and when the slogans were read out everybody would answer in a big and loud "hooray!" It's too bad it doesn't happen that way anymore."

But as with much in Russia today, much has changed since those days. Users on LiveJournal will likely continue to debate these changes online, because the only thing they like more than musing over the past is deliberating the future.

The Russian blogosphere has almost tripled in 12 months. These summaries have been taken from recent posts on the special community set up for this newspaper, http://community.livejournal.com/opinion_ru, and compiled by Marina Pustilnik.

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