HAVANA TIMES — This past November 7 marked the 95th anniversary of the Soviet Revolution in Russia. Cuban authorities held the traditional celebration at the Soviet Soldier Memorial, which was attended by representatives of the military and the diplomatic corps.
On the evening news, Cuban television aired this activity, but there was also a “feature” about a huge parade in Moscow’s Red Square to celebrate that revolutionary date. In this, from what we could see on the screen, were processions of soldiers carrying red flags and columns of tanks and other formidable military weapons, including intercontinental missiles and anti-missile systems. To top it off, I could see the excited faces of the Russian president and the prime minister.
The news intrigued me. For a long time (since 1991), Russia hasn’t been governed the Communist Party, moreover the Putin administration has made every effort to “de-socialize” the country. His political organization, the United Russia Party, openly declares itself as professing a “conservative” and “right wing ideology,” while Communists are now the opposition and have all types of disagreements with the current government.
This even includes the traditional November 7 holiday, which was moved up on the calendar a few days by the government. Now, instead of marking the revolution of 1917, it commemorates the liberation of Moscow from Polish forces in 1612.
What’s more, I found it strange that the great commemorative posters in Red Square being shown on my TV screen didn’t allude to November 7 but to May 9 (the Victory Day against Nazi-fascism). Likewise, the Russian news sites that come to me via the Internet mentioned absolutely nothing about the “huge parade” that appeared so gung-ho on the Cuban news.
To find out more about this, I e-mailed my brother, who lives in the Russian capital. His answer was clear: That day there was only a small and symbolic military march to recall not the revolution as such, but the Soviet soldiers who during the frigid November of 1941 went straight from Red Square to the front, where the fate of Russia and its capital were defined.
All the rest of the paraphernalia displayed on my TV screen proved to be a generous “cut-and-paste” activity, including the rockets, the red flags and the images of an excited president (who, incidentally, was suffering from back problems on that date, making it impossible for him to appear at any public activity).
This was Cuban TV’s contribution to the myth that Putin’s Russia — in some strange and eerie way — is a country that can be described as “communist.”