Thousands of Communists have marched in parades in cities across Russia, marking the 84th anniversary of the revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power. An estimated 5,000 people joined in a demonstration that included denunciations of President Vladimir Putin for his support of the American fight against terrorism.
Officially, it is known as the Day of Accord and Reconciliation, but to most Russians it is still Revolution Day, the day that once celebrated the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
Communists and others opposed to closer ties with the West paraded under red flags and banners emblazoned with the hammer and sickle in demonstrations nationwide.
"Here in Moscow, one group chanted 'Taleban, Taleban' as they protested Russian support for the American-led fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. Most people in Russia oppose Afghanistan's Taleban rulers, but many are worried that the U.S. campaign could destabilize neighboring Central Asian countries, and that the conflict could spill over into Russia," he said.
Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov led a march to a downtown square, where a statue of Karl Marx stands. He accused President Vladimir Putin of following the same pro-Western policies of his predecessors. He accused former President Boris Yeltsin and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev of destroying the country, and said Vladimir Putin is following in their footsteps. He said President Putin is, in his words, "hanging on the coattails of the United States, and there is a big risk that Russia will get dragged into war."
Other rallies were held as well, including a pro-government march and a parade by World War II veterans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the day when 8,000 Soviet troops marched off to confront the German army, then camped just a few dozen kilometers outside Moscow.