MOSCOW • Russia held low-key events yesterday to mark a century since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, with the authorities reluctant to celebrate an armed uprising that launched more than 70 years of communist rule.
President Vladimir Putin stayed away from the events and his spokesman said the centenary was a routine working day for the leader, who had several meetings.
Red Square did host a military parade yesterday, but it was mainly a stylised historical re-enactment of a Soviet 1941 World War II event and gave only a brief nod to the famous uprising. It was not shown live on state TV, and featured merely a brief segment on the 1917 revolution.
Throughout the Soviet era, anniversaries of the revolution were marked with pomp and military parades on the Red Square.
The centenary is the last landmark event before presidential polls in March that Mr Putin is expected to contest and win.
Mr Putin said this month that the revolution is "an integral, complex part of our history", stressing the need for "treating the past objectively and respectfully". But he has made clear he thought it would have been better if the revolution had never happened.
"Was it not possible to follow an evolutionary path rather than go through a revolution? Could we not have evolved by way of gradual and consistent forward movement rather than at the cost of destroying our statehood?" he said.
The armed uprising began on Oct 25, 1917 - which is Nov 7 on the modern-day Gregorian calendar - after a shot was fired at the Winter Palace by the Aurora cruiser ship.
A report commissioned by the Communist Party found that 58 per cent of Russians were not aware of the anniversary.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE