MOSCOW, NOV. 6 -- When they stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd in November 1917, the Bolsheviks dreamed of ending the divisions in Russian society once and for all. In the new workers' state, everybody would automatically think the same way.

But this week, on the eve of the revolution's 73rd anniversary, a newly published opinion poll suggested that Soviet citizens are now split down the middle on whether the Communists led by Vladimir Lenin had the right to seize power.

Asked whether the Russian Revolution expressed the will of the people, 39 percent agreed, 36 percent disagreed and 25 percent had difficulty answering. Only 22 percent said they would "actively support" the Bolsheviks if the revolution occurred before their eyes.

On more detailed questions, the Bolsheviks' armed seizure of power was described as "historically necessary" by 52 percent of those questioned. But a clear majority of the sample opposed repressive actions by Lenin such as the dissolution of the constituent assembly, the nationalization of private property, the closing of opposition newspapers and the suppression of peasant uprisings. The execution of the czar's family was condemned by a margin of 77 percent to 10.

Wednesday, on the anniversary of the seizure of power on Nov. 7, 1917, President Mikhail Gorbachev will preside as usual over the traditional military parade outside the Kremlin. After the last floats hailing the birth of a new era have rumbled past the Kremlin, opposition groups will march through Red Square to mark what they have dubbed "a day of mourning" for the victims of Communist repression.

Similar demonstrations and counter-demonstrations will take place across the Soviet Union in what amounts to a nationwide street referendum on the outcome of the Russian Revolution. Last week, the leadership of the Soviet legislature called for a ban on all unofficial rallies on Wednesday, but the appeal has been largely disregarded by local authorities.

When Gorbachev came to power in 1985, most Soviets accepted his argument that Lenin could not be held responsible for the "deformations" of socialism that occurred under his successor, Joseph Stalin. But this view has been challenged over the past few months with the publication of a stream of documents suggesting that Lenin himself laid the groundwork for Stalin's dictatorship with his own "Red Terror" against his political opponents.

Until recently, the correctness of the path chosen by Lenin and his associates in 1917 was, in some ways, the ultimate taboo -- a barrier that even the self-proclaimed "kamikazes" hesitated to breach. Over the past year, it has been shattered, even in the official media.

"November 7 is not a holiday, but the opposite," said a waitress quoted on the front page of Moskovskaya Pravda, the official organ of the Moscow Communist Party, this morning. "Soviet power has brought only grief to our people. The only people who live lives that are worthy of human beings in this country are party and government apparatchiks."

"The great experiment was distorted at the very outset by the leadership's lust for power," said Svyatoslav Fedorov, a world-renowed eye surgeon, interviewed in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda. "The leaders created a mammoth state machine that grew and grew -- although Marx wrote that the state would ultimately wither away."

The shift in public mood has been reflected in the renaming of streets, squares, and cities across the Soviet Union. Heroes of the revolution are being consigned to history and people once denounced as class enemies rehabilitated. Last week, the radical-controlled Moscow city council changed the name of a subway station from Lenin to Czaritsyno.

Other revolutionary figures recently expunged from the Moscow city map include writer Maxim Gorki, Feliks Dzherzhinsky, the founder of the secret police, and Mikhail Kalinin, a former Soviet president under Stalin. The Soviet capital now has squares named after Martin Luther King and Gen. Charles de Gaulle.

In an attempt to heal the deepening political division in Soviet society, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church suggested yesterday that it might be a good idea not to hold any kind of demonstration on Nov. 7.

"Let this day be a day of neither celebration nor mourning, but a day of meditation from the depth of human conscience," the patriach wrote in the government newspaper Izvestia. "Let all the years that have passed {since 1917} persuade us not to pay for political experiments with human lives."