Sunday, July 10, 2005

In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

November - The Russian calendar was 13 days behind ours. In 1709 the calendar (the Julian calendar) was first printed in Russia, more than 127 years after the Gregorian calendar had been introduced in Europe.
In the nineteenth century, because of the almost world-wide acceptance of the Gregorian calendar, the Department of Foreign Affairs used the Gregorian style in its relations with foreign countries; the commerical and naval fleets too were obliged to reckon time according to the Western calendar; and finally sciences, such as astronomy, meterology, etc., which had a world character, were compelled to follow the new system. All this caused considerable complication.

In 1829 the Department of Public Instruction recommended a revision of the calendar to the Academy of Science. The Academy proceeded to petition the government to accept the Gregorian calendar. Prince Lieven, in submitting the plan to Tsar Nicholas I, denounced it as "premature, unnecessary, and likely to produce upheavals, and bewilderment of mind and conscience among the people." He further declared that "the advantage from a reform of this kind will be very small and immaterial, while the inconveniences and difficulties will be unavoidable and great." The Tsar, being apprehensive, wrote on the report: "The comments of Prince Lieven are accurate and just."

From thence onward frequent attempts were made to remove the ban, but to no avail. In 1918, after the Revolution, Lenin raised the question of calendar reform and, after an investigation of the subject, published a decree directing the adoption of the Gregorian style "for the purpose of being in harmony with all the civilized countries of the world."

The adoption of the Gregorian calendar necessitated a cancellation of 13 days, instead of ten days, because in the interval three centurial years had been counted as leap years. Although the government officially accepted the Gregorian calendar, the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church still clung to the earlier and more familiar Julian. This is the reason, for example, that the observance of Christmas, on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, comes in the Julian calendar on January 7.
The October Revolution, also known as the Bolshevik Revolution, was the second phase of the Russian Revolution, the first having been instigated by the events around the February Revolution. The October Revolution was led by Bolsheviks under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin and marked the first officially Communist revolution of the twentieth century, based upon the ideas of Karl Marx. The crucial revolutionary activities in Petrograd were under the command of the Petrograd Soviet's Military Revolutionary Committee.
The revolution would culminate in a communist coup against the Russian provisional government, leading to the creation of the Soviet Union.
The prominence to the event was ascribed later. Initially, the event was referred to as October uprising or Uprising of 25th, as seen, for example, in the first editions of Lenin's complete works. With time, the October Revolution was seen as a hugely important global event, the first in a series of events that lay the groundwork for an epic Cold War struggle between the Soviet Union and Western democracies, including the United States.
The Great October Socialist Revolution was the official name for the October Revolution in the Soviet Union since the 10th anniversary celebration of the Revolution in 1927. Today this name is used mainly by Russian Communists.

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