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Last Updated: Friday, 24 December, 2004, 11:01 GMT
Russia scraps Communist holiday
Communist march
After 1991, Revolution Day was only celebrated by the Communists
The Russian parliament has abolished what used to be the main Soviet holiday - the October Revolution Day marking the Bolshevik uprising in 1917.

MPs adopted amendments to the Labour code - which also replaced a holiday marking the new Russian constitution and introduced new bank holidays.

It gives Russians nearly 10 days off around the New Year and the Orthodox Christmas and replaces Revolution Day.

The Communist members of parliament voted against the changes.

The October Revolution Day commemorating the Bolshevik uprising in Petrograd - currently St Petersburg - on 25 October in 1917, was celebrated on 7 November, according to the calendar introduced by the Bolsheviks.

In Soviet times it was the main public holiday. Its celebration involved massive military parades and demonstrations watched by Soviet leaders lined up on Lenin's mausoleum in Red Square.

Unity Day

After the collapse of Communism it was renamed National Reconciliation Day, but was only celebrated by hard-line left-wingers who continued to mark it by marching on the streets under red banners.

On Friday, the Russian State Duma replaced it, introducing People's Unity Day on 4 November to commemorate the liberation of Moscow from Polish troops in 1612 which ended decades of civil war and foreign intervention in Russia.

The name of the new holiday echoes that of the main pro-presidential party, controlling the Duma. Initially called the Unity party it was then renamed into United Russia.

At the same time the parliament scrapped the Constitution Day dedicated to the current constitution adopted in 1993 under President Boris Yeltsin.

The introduction of a 10-day Christmas holiday at the beginning of January reflects the fact that many businesses would close anyway for New Year's Day until well after the Orthodox Christmas on 7 January.

The changes leave Russia Day - the main state holiday celebrated on 12 June; Victory Day, commemorating the World War II victory on 9 May and Women's Day on 8 March which had already evolved into a non-ideological holiday in the Soviet times.

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