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The Semi-Regular Newsletter

Travels in Russia

KLM Rocks Across Europe!
Santa Claus in Moscow
Television Is a Time Suck
The Reality of Irrelevance
Salute Mayor Luzhkov
Impeachment Happens
I Am Not The Only One...
I'm Back! Did Ya Miss Me?
Chechnya Burning
Weddings in Winter
The Jews Are Here!
Gailyn Goes to Town
Is There a Central Bank?
Santa Barbara is Real
Nick's Thanksgiving in Russia
Den' Rozhdeniya = Birthdays
Those Crazy Expats
It's Just a Few Drops of Vodka...
Elections Are Always Rigged
The Blind Leading the Blind
Good Russian Grooms
You Say 'Boris Berezovskiy' Fast
Too Cold to Care!
Russian Oil Towns
Sneaky Siberian Tigers
Which Way is St Peterburg?
Where am I again? Oh, yeah...
I Love Me Some Vodka
It's a Gosorg Halloween
Hunger Comes to Us All
Why Don't They Just Learn English?!
Post-Crisis, Life Goes On
Is Yeltsin 'The Man'?
Murmansk - Brrrr!
Taganka Hides Her Secrects
These are Communists
It's a Power Vaccum
Propaganda is Good for You
You Better Buy Russian!
Sex Ed Soviet Style
Party over, oops outta time!
Russian Healthcare in Moscow
What Russian Financial Crisis?
YE Prices in Russia
The Hungry Duck
Russian Caviar Mafia
Magical Mushrooms
Shhhh! We're Bear Hunting
Soviet Street Scams
Bez Dollarov
A Koshka Konspiracy
On The Dacha
The Banking Implosion
Surviving Army Life
Shashleek is Steak on Steroids
Dacha Thinking
Beach Weekend
Dos Vedanya
Hello from Vladivostok
Equality Means Only She Works
Jogging is an Extreme Sport
Russians Have Reunions Too
My Folks in Massive Moscow
Better than Fireworks
Miners Are Real Men
The Russian Mafia is the Roof
No One Smiles in the CIS
One Year Anniversary
Russian Brides Rock
Laura is My St Pete Connection
Change is in the Wind
Chuck Norris' Beverly Hills Casino
The Expat Woman's Predicament
Street Food is Yummy!
Spring Flowers Make June Leavers
The Provinces Are Provincial
Ever Take an Elektrichka?
The English Invasion
Nuttin Like New Money
Rules Are Made to Break
All Black is Russian Fashion
Easter Memories = Easter Dinner
Politics, Russian Style
Theresa Tries to Russify
I Go to Gay Clubs Worldwide
I Hide on Women's Day
New & Shiny: Nizhny Novgorod
Psst! Wanna job in Moscow?
Fili Park Has All the Bootlegs
Web Page Reactions
Take a Break at Dom Odaha
Expat Living in Moscow is Swank
Why Are You Remonting?
They Look Like Telephones...
In Need of a Decent Hairstylist
Smashing Bottles in Red Square


Russia, October 5, 1998

The Commies are Back

Its time to break out the Lenin portraits again!

Don't be scared, its only a costume
The Reds are on the rise
All going to the dacha, not the Kremlin
No, it's not the commies
Its a concert, not a protest!
We like music, not government
Classic Soviet Realism
We want to party!
The Great Russian bogeyman is back, the Communist Party, or so it hopes. The leader of the party, Gennadiy Zyuganov, called for a nationwide protest on Oct 7th, to show the government that there was a real mass movement to change what is happening in Russia. Check out the opening to his call to march:


Gaydar stole your savings; Chubays stole your property; Chernomyrdin stole your pay. But for seven years you have been patient. First you believed Yeltsin's promises and the lying television. Then you hoped to survive on your own, to sit out the crisis in your vegetable garden.

As a reward for your submissiveness, since 17 August they have been stealing from you all that you have left. And no end to this process is in sight. If you continue to be patient, tomorrow they will drive you out of house and home. They will put your mother and father in the graveyard, turn your wife and sister into prostitutes, and leave your children to beg at the church door. And you will be able to 'freely' choose: Either to hang yourself or to take up a cudgel and embark on a life of crime.'

Pretty good start eh? Too bad this is Russia and not Indonesia where even student protesters can topple the government if the kids don't get video games in the lunchroom. See, in Russia, there is a different feeling towards the government and its ability to change.

In 1917, Russia completely changed its government, made a government of the people, by the people, for the people, more than any other had in all of history. They swept away 1000 years of monarchy and tyranny for a new system run by the very proletariat that were so horrible persecuted before. Now look what became of that great social experiment. After 70 years of trying, the people finally had enough and switched yet again, to the system the rest of us use, a for of elected government with separate branches.

This third system, in less than 100 years, is on the rocks, and Zuggie-baby though the people of this country were gonna get pissed? Ha! By now, the people have learned that no matter who is in the Kremlin, or what he is called, a wolf is still a wolf, even in sheep's clothing, or laying in Grandma's bed. He still has big eyes, big ears, and big teeth, the better to get what he wants with minimal opposition.

The Russian people showed up for Zuggie-baby's march all right. The old pensioners who dream of the days of 15 kopeck sausages and don't have vacations in Spain. The four Esparado backers hoping to change the world's languages to some obscure academic anomaly, and other such dreamers. The drunks and various rabble, always found in public events, worldwide, and more militzi and journalists than anyone else.

Chaos and chaff is about it. When I went to the march, there wasn't much going on. No speakers past a few yelling at whomever would listen, about their grand schemes to resurrect the glory of Russia under Stalin. No direction, no formulation, no organization.

Oh, no one either. A thousand people do not make a revolution. It takes millions! I think that is the end of Communists for a while. The end of them in Moscow anyway.

07 November 1998, The Hindustan Times

The Great October Revolution Anniversary

From: Fred Weir in Moscow

MOSCOW (HT Nov 7) -- Ten of thousand Communist supporters marched through downtown Moscow Saturday to mark the 81st anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and to demand the removal of today's Russian government.

'The country has been destroyed by criminals led by President Boris Yeltsin,' said Yelena Alexandrova, a 65-year old geophysicist who was among the estimated 1,000 protesters who gathered on Moscow's Lubyanka Square. 'The Soviet Union created industry and national power, and these people have wrecked it in less than a decade. They must all be driven out.'

The crowd was addressed by Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, parliamentary Speaker Gennady Seleznyov and other left- wing leaders. All speakers bemoaned the dismal state of Russia's economy, the degradation of its armed forces and the social demoralization since the demise of the USSR. Mr. Zyuganov called for President Yeltsin's impeachment and formation of a government of national trust to pull Russia out of its historic crisis.

The November 7 anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution was the most important day on the Soviet calendar. Festivities always included a huge military parade on Red Square, with Communist Party leaders watching from atop the masoleum of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the USSR. It remains an official holiday in post-Soviet Russia, but has been re-named as 'the day of national reconciliation'. For most people it is simply an extra day off work, but millions of Communists and their supporters continue to celebrate it for its ideological significance. 'This is a day that has global meaning. All of history was changed by the Russian Revolution,' said Alexandra Yastrebova, a 64-year old professor at Peoples Friendship University in Moscow. 'The Revolution was an example of how people can change their lives radically, and today it more than ever shows the way to the future.'

This year Russia has endured economic breakdown and sharply deteriorating social stability. Aid agencies fear mass hunger and social collapse could afflict some regions of the country this winter. Mr. Yeltsin, who engineered the breakup of the USSR and has dominated post-Soviet politics, is enfeebled by illness and appears to be fading from political relevance. 'Russia is at one of those moments like 1917 when everything can be turned around by revolution,' said Ms. Yastrebova. 'I would be very happy to see this monster Yeltsin and all his works swept away by the tide of history.'



Russian society traditionally continues to celebrate a few traditional Soviet era dates. For example, on October 29 many Russians celebrated 80 Anniversary of Komsomol (Young Communist League). Few big meetings and ceremonies were held in Khabarovsk Russian Army Officers Club Hall and other public places, where former Komsomol members met to 'remember those old days'. I participated in the events as a former Komsomol member (from 1964 to 1976).

Does it mean that former Komsomol members want communist era back? Not, in any way!!! The celebration was not a political act, but Nostalgia for 'those old days when we were young and happy'. During the party I had chance to crook elbows and chat with many famous Khabarovsk entrepreneurs, financiers, local government and federal officers. All of them are former Komsomol members, but I can bet, they do not want return of Communism and old political system.

About 90% of young people in the USSR were Komsomol members. Many of them accepted Komsomol as the public youth organization, rather than a political party. Komsomol organized many public events like Subbotniks (Similar to a Clean-Up Campaign), when few hours of public works usually ended with happy music and dancing parties. There was many interesting public events and discussions clubs. In 1986 industrious Komsomol members were the first to established private cooperatives. Many Russian political and economic leaders' and entrepreneurs' mentality was formed during that period of time by Komsomol activities.

Yesterday Khabarovsk celebrated a Great October Socialist Revolution Day. We had a number of events and parties. And not because on November 7 Russians supported the Bolshevik revolution, but because this generation has an instinct to meet their friends and comrades and celebrate with them this date. Of cause, there's a small group of rabid Bolsheviks in Khabarovsk who had a red flag waving noisily meeting. But even they now are on the commercial capitalist move. Last month Bolsheviks offered me to buy books of Stalin and North Korean Leader Kim Il Sen. When I mentioned that Old Leninist Guards always offered people free propaganda books, the Bolshevik merchants attacked me and I had to run away for my life.

Social psychology is a pretty conservative thing. For example, in 20-th Bolshevik Party prohibited celebration of Christmas. Christmas Tree at home was considered as a 'counter-revolutionary act'. But people secretly celebrated Christmas, not because they were religious, but because it was the tradition of fathers and their youth. Then in 1935 Stalin (sure he was a smart guy) introduced a New Year Day on January 1, and renamed Christmas Tree into a New Year Tree. People gladly returned to the old tradition under a new name. But I remember in 60s my Mom, who never was a church member or believer, secretly celebrated Christmas with me. Now Russian society readily accepts Christmas. Russians start celebrations on December 25 and continue until January 14. (December 25 is 'Western Christmas', January 1 - 3-4 days of 'News Year' celebrations, January 7 - 3 days of 'Russian Orthodox Church Christmas', January 13 - ' Old Russian Calendar New Year'). Foreign businessmen, who live in Russia have to bite the bullet and understand that no business operations may be expected during that period of time.

Many Russians give tepid welcome to new holidays. For example, Eltsins' Independence Day in June is accepted as an additional day-off, but never as a Day. Last June, when the government propaganda started to mention it as a Holiday, many people said: 'Independence from whom?'

So, I don't think that Russian went on the streets on November 7 to support communists. I think, many of them like me just wanted to meet their friends and have few drinks together.

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