MUNICH — This revolution, it seems, is destined for oblivion.
The Bolshevik Revolution, a hundred years ago, is not being celebrated in Moscow where it happened. The Putin regime would rather draw its legitimacy from the country’s costly victory in the “Great Patriotic War” against the Nazis.
Most of the monuments to Lenin that dotted the cities of what was then the Soviet Union have been taken down. The man who murdered his way to power and established a dictatorship tragically mimicked by others is now mentioned only with a little embarrassment.
In Berlin, the other day, I heard faintly familiar music from a distance as we emerged from a church transformed into a fashionable restaurant. Filipinos will find converting a church into a restaurant a scandal. But in this case, doing so seemed practical. What else should one do with a nice old edifice when there is no priest and no parish?
At any rate, as the noisy motorcade moved closer, we realized the “Internationale” – anthem of communist movements everywhere – was being loudly played. Mounted on three small trucks where tableaus of Russian Red Army troops circa 1954.
This was a motorcade apparently by old-line communists commemorating the anniversary of Lenin’s revolution. These are people who still mourn the collapse of the Soviet Union and are nostalgic for the German Democratic Republic along with its notorious secret police.
What was interesting, I thought, was that they invoked scenes from the Great Patriotic War instead of the 1917 uprising. They were not celebrating Lenin or, gosh, Stalin. Like the obedient cadres that they are, even their commemoration of their revolution’s centennial followed the “tone at the top” in Moscow.
At any rate, people took notice of this motley group of three trucks and about 30 participants only because of the loud music they played. With participants wearing Red Army costumes, this could have been mistaken a motorcade of clowns. Perhaps it is.
Recall that it was German intelligence that smuggled Lenin back to Russia. The Germans thought the rabble-rouser would stir up enough trouble to force Russia to back out of the war. Little did the Germans expect this little devil would actually maneuver his way brutally through the turbulence and actually take power.
Much less did anyone expect that Lenin and his wild bunch would emerge the icon for revolutionaries the world over….