Revolutionary Spirit Gives Way to Anger and Disillusionment With AM-Revolution Day, Bjt
Nov. 07, 1990
MOSCOW (AP) _ Strolling arm-in-arm and carrying red carnations in a Revolution Day parade, retired schoolteachers Lina Solomanaya and Olga Stoyanovskaya appeared to be in a holiday mood. They weren't.
''All my life I've been deceived,'' Mrs. Solomanaya said. ''I was a Communist and I believed what they told me. I raised my children that way, too. I sent them to the Pioneers and the Communist Youth League.
''We have begun to open our eyes only in the last few years. We know what happened in 1917, and we can see what it has brought us. We just can't pretend anymore that it was right.''
The Nov. 7 holiday traditionally has glorified the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution with a military parade through Red Square.
But on Wednesday, in addition to the Red Square parade, tens of thousands of Soviets marched through Moscow and other cities in counter-demonstrations expressing anger and disillusionment.
Increasingly, Soviet historians and politicians are publicly declaring the revolution a failure. Some call it a noble, but unsuccessful, experiment. Others call a criminal coup that blocked the country's evolution toward parliamentary democracy.
Mrs. Solomanaya, 61, and Mrs. Stoyanovskaya, 55, marched with more than 5,000 people behind banners with slogans such as ''Nov. 7: A Day of Mourning for Russia.''
The rally began a few blocks from Red Square, outside the Communist Party headquarters, where radical politician Lev Shemayev told the crowd: ''We no longer want to be guinea pigs in the giant experiment forced on us by false Bolsheviks for the past 73 years.''
It ended about one mile away at the apartment building where dissident physicist and 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov lived before his death last December.
Along the way, Mrs. Solomanaya and Mrs. Stoyanovskaya explained why they have lost faith both in revolutionary ideology and President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
''For 73 years, we thought we were moving to a brighter future - and we never got there,'' said Mrs. Solomanaya, who taught literature in a Moscow high school.
''They promised us free medical care, free educations, good pensions. But all we got was crumbs,'' added Mrs. Stoyanovskaya.
Passing a row of embassies, the two friends said Western countries have a higher standard of living, more freedom and less fear. They complained that sugar is rationed in Moscow, butter and eggs have disappeared from state stores, and shopping is humiliating.
Mrs. Solomanaya said long lines have put the Soviet people in an ''evil'' mood.
''We are irritable, annoyed, vexed, because every step in our lives has become difficult,'' said Mrs. Stoyanovskaya, a former English teacher.
Both women said Gorbachev failed to revive the economy. ''Gorbachev brought us free speech, which was something we never expected, and we have to thank him for that,'' Mrs. Stoyanovskaya said.
''But Gorbachev is like a weather vane, turning whichever way the wind blows. First he supported the 500-day (economic reform) program. Then he rejected it. He is pressured by the right, and he gives in.''
Mrs. Solomanaya said she is now pinning her hopes on reformers in the Russian republic government, led by President Boris Yeltsin, because they are willing to take more resolute steps toward economic reform.
But she said she expects conditions to worsen before getting better.
''We are tired of socialism, communism, internationalism,'' she said. ''All we want is a better life - not another 'ism.'''