Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cold War May Day Celebrations

What makes today's May Day celebrations so different than those of the past?

May Day is celebrated in so many ways around the world and a Google search will provide references to as many different types of celebrations as there are countries that celebrate today.

Here in the United States the Occupy Movement plans to shut down major cities and are asking for workers to unite and strike. Shades of Russia at the turn of the 20th Century!

How will Russia (former U.S.S.R.) celebrate this year? Will it be a national holiday of Spring, will there be worker's rallies, or will we see inklings of the old Soviet style military parade with Putin's like for the old ways? We will see as the news trickles across the internet.

In preparation for this post I viewed old newsreels and read post from around the world. I'll base my comments on the USSR because of the nature of this blog. One item of note is that the view of the Moscow celebration definitely changed as the years progressed. In the beginning the May Day celebration was one of the workers, especially during the Lenin years. I found an old news article from 1918 that described a normal parade with the people celebrating. I saw film from the early 1930s that supports the celebration of the workers theme. As World War Two progressed the parade review became more militaristic with Stalin showing the military might of his country. This theme took over and stayed that way until just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This Cold Warrior remembers the film footage of the USSR leadership up on the high stage. USA anlayst always looked to see who stood where and mused about who is in line to take over based on where they stood in relation to the Premier.

YouTube has quite a collection including footage from the 1991 celebration - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wcx844feFs Part 1 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=2i3gN6q4Fes Part 2. There was not a tank or missile in sight in 1991!

I am curious as to how Russia will celebrate and to how troublesome the Occupy Movement will be. Will the two celebrations be similar with peaceful marches of workers celebrating or will there be trouble here in America today like Russia in 1917? Will Putin take a page from previous leaders and show military might? Will our authorities crack down as the Csar did back then? We shall see.

Check back tomorrow for an update.

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