MOSCOW, SEPT. 10 -- The mayors of Moscow and Leningrad today said that "with little to celebrate this year" the Soviet Union should abandon its traditional Nov. 7 Revolution Day parades and instead encourage people to spend the day insulating their homes for winter or preparing gardens.
Gavril Popov of Moscow and Anatoly Sobchak of Leningrad, two leading reformers who dropped out of the Communist Party in July, told reporters that in a period of bread lines, tobacco rebellions and a general sense of systemic collapse, this was no time to celebrate the glories of the Bolshevik victory in 1917. In recent months, many leading politicians have questioned whether the revolution was a breakthrough or a calamity of history.
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev still calls himself a "convinced communist," but he may be grateful for Sobchak's and Popov's proposal. At the last major state celebration -- the May Day parade on Red Square -- political groups embarrassed the Kremlin leadership with ringing denunciations of the Communist Party and shouts of "Resign! Resign!" Some demontrators carried Lithuanian flags and one even carried a huge crucifix. After watching the display for 20 minutes, Gorbachev walked back inside the Kremlin gates.
Traditional celebrations commemorating the Bolshevik Revolution include countless massive billboards of Lenin and Marx, a rumbling display of military hardware and a "people's demonstration," while the Kremlin leaders watch from Lenin's marble mausoleum.
But this year Sobchak and Popov want Gorbachev to limit the affair to a simple, brief military parade. Any billboards or "people's demonstrations," they said in a letter to city councils in the Russian republic, would be in bad taste.