MOSCOW -- V.I. Lenin pops up on one page of it, looking more like the American comic strip character Dick Tracy than the guiding light of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Joseph Stalin, provisional government leader Alexander Kerensky and KGB founder Felix Derzhinsky also appear, all wearing deadpan expressions similar to characters in the Doonesbury comic strip.
Lenin, Stalin and company all appear in a new comic book about the revolution, released by the official Soviet publishing house, Progress, in connection with the Soviet Union's 70th anniversary celebrations.
A 159-page paperback, "1917" depicts the events of the Bolshevik uprising in a slapdash style.
One page shows Russian peasants stomping into the streets, with the word "Bread!" splashed across the top. Another shows a "Russian Rockefeller," wearing a smoking jacket and top hat, thinking of ways to thwart the Bolsheviks.
Retelling the revolution with a touch of humor, unthinkable 10 years ago when the U.S.S.R. turned 60, is in part due to glasnost, the new Soviet leadership's policy of open debate.
But it also may be a sign that the country has come of age.
"At 70, you are like a grandfather," one Soviet artist said after reading "1917."
"You can afford to smile at yourself."
AS AN anniversary gift to the hundreds of journalists covering festivities in Moscow this week, the Kremlin leadership has let the glasnost spigot overflow, with Alexander Yakovlev, a member of the ruling Politburo, making a rare press appearance one day and members of the powerful Central Committee fielding reporters' questions the next.
Five Central Committee members appeared in two separate news conferences, making new assessments about everything from the "Prague Spring," Czechoslovakia's 1968 liberalization that precipitated a Soviet-led invasion, to the American military-industrial complex.
Showing that there are limits to glasnost, however, some of the officials' more controversial remarks were censored in the official Soviet media.
A statement by Yakovlev, the Kremlin's propaganda chief, about Boris Yeltsin, the Moscow party boss who is at the center of a major high-level dispute in the party, was cut out of Soviet press reports of his news conference.
When Tass issued a statement by Soviet Central Committee secretary Anatoly Lukyanov about Yeltsin last Saturday, the official Soviet news agency strongly advised Soviet editors not to use the material.
Asked if there were one glasnost for the western press and another for the Soviet media, Yakovlev rebuked the American questioner.
HELD IN the third year of the Kremlin's campaign against heavy drinking in the Soviet Union, the 70th anniversary celebration has given new meaning to the Russian tradition of a holiday toast.
Supplies of vodka and sparkling wine are plentiful in the hotels that house foreign guests and leading Soviet officials, but have virtually disappeared from the streets and stores of Moscow.
Muscovites, raising glasses nevertheless, are left with two options: standing in lines for several hours to buy liquor or quenching their thirst with the wide selection of fruit juices flowing as if from a fountain throughout the Soviet capital.
STRIKING a balance between conservative and liberal views in his keynote address, Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev set the stage for an experiment in 70th anniversary juggling. By week's end, parties, factions and ideas seemed so carefully set off against one another that something was bound to give.
Moscow invited both feuding communist parties in neighboring Finland, for instance. They stayed in the same hotel, but in separate wings.
On Saturday, Lukyanov spoke out on the Yeltsin affair. Lukyanov had objected to a controversial speech by the Moscow party boss in which he reportedly criticized the party leadership for a lack of speed in implementing Gorbachev's reforms.
On Tuesday, Yakovlev, who reportedly supported Yeltsin's views, used his own press conference to make a statement about the dispute.
To television viewers of the proceedings, even Gorbachev seemed the object of a campaign for balance.
When he delivered his three-hour opening speech on Monday, the Soviet leader's face was offset on the television screen by that of Yegor Ligachev, the second-ranking Politburo member who is said to pose a potential challenge to Gorbachev's leadership. Ligachev sat to Gorbachev's right.
The balancing act tipped at the end of the week, however, after Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat took the lectern and charged that the Israeli government is obstructing peace in the Middle East.
It didn't take long for Mier Vilner, head of Israel's Communist Party, to follow with a response.
He agreed with Arafat.