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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 21:25 GMT
Russia's revolution 85 years on
Police patrols Red Square
More police and troops are deployed in Moscow

The police presence in Moscow is being reinforced in preparation for public events on Thursday to mark the 85th anniversary of the Russian revolution.

Checkpoints are also being set up on roads leading into other major Russian cities.

Demonstrator with Vladimir Lenin's portrait
Organisers predict thousands will turn up
The security forces have been on a higher state of alert since Chechen rebels seized a Moscow theatre last month, leading to the deaths of more than 100 people.

The anniversary of the revolution has been renamed and repackaged since the Soviet Union collapsed 11 years ago.

But commemorative events continue to attract old communists and other people who feel nostalgia for the Soviet era.

Fading memories

Organisers of events this year are predicting that thousands of people will converge on central Moscow, rallying at familiar landmarks like the Lenin statue and the Karl Marx statue.

These large public meetings will be a headache for the police who are fearful of another attack by Chechen separatist rebels.

As a result, about 4,000 police officers and troops are expected to be deployed in the city.

Meanwhile some Russians are questioning why the anniversary of the revolution is still a public holiday at all.

Some newspapers argue that memories of Soviet times are fading fast, and that the celebrations belong to history.

But a prominent Russian human rights group has found a new focus for the anniversary.

It has published a list of more than 600,000 victims of communist purges, mainly during the Stalin era.

The group says the list will help tens of thousands of Russians who are still trying to find out what happened to their loved ones.

See also:

27 Oct 02 | Europe
21 Sep 02 | Europe
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