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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Reminiscences of the Russian Revolution

thOctober 1917 is a date that will go down in history for much longer than the past 100 years. Only it wasn’t October. The October Revolution, or the Bolshevik Revolution, actually happened in November 1917 due to the Julian calendar used at that time in Russia.

How might I have reminiscences of this event? Contrary to popular opinion, no, I was not alive at that time. But my grandparents were. All born around 1900, they were teens who remembered all too well and shared with the family down through the decades: the petrifying violence of the White Army versus the Red Army gaining victories back and forth, years of Civil War and starvation, whether or not to flee the country.

One grandmother became stuck as a young person in Constantinople. She left Russia while her sister andrussian-revolution father did not. Feverish and diseased from her living conditions as a refugee, the young Russian aristocrat awoke to a shaved head in a hospital bed in what would one day become Istanbul.

I could go on, but it would be a book. Suffice it to say, while the Russian Revolution promised egalitarianism and reform, yet brought much heartache and upheaval. That’s the way revolutions tend to be. Things get worse before they become better. In Russia’s case, did life ever become better?

That’s debatable.

russiaPassing over about 100 years of history for now, yesterday was the Day of Accord and Reconciliation, the post-Soviet, wishful-thinking name assigned to the Revolution. Believe it or not, the Communist Party yet lives in Russia, as I’ve witnessed first-hand in Red Square upon occasion, when elderly folks often gather in front of Lenin’s waxed corpse, carrying placards, hammer-and-sickle flags and banners. It’s amazing what dementia can do to people….

Believe it or not, many of the modern-day Russian officials, unless they are very young indeed, were once part of the Communist Party. So it’s an ambivalent type of tolerance for the past, along with an attempt to rewrite history, kind of similar to the current move in U.S. locales where statues and plaques regarding historic events are being removed like old Halloween decorations gone old.

Except that Russia does not generally remove statues. I’ve been to plenty of Russian government office buildings with Lenin images still standing outside.

Maybe they could teach Americans about reconciling the past with the present. Or maybe propaganda has its purposes and the Russian message really is, the more that things change, the more that they remain the same.

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