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Russia: Thousands Of Communist Marchers Mark Revolution Day

Moscow, 7 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Thousands of communist supporters marched through downtown Moscow today, marking the 79th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and protesting the government's economic policies.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, who led the Revolution Day march, said the Russian government is "unable to govern."

Bearing red flags and singing patriotic songs, a nostalgic crowd met at October Square under a huge statue of Lenin before marching toward the square where Karl Marx's effigy stands.

Itar-Tass quotes Russia's Interior Ministry as saying that some 22,000 people took part in the rally. According to the Interior Ministry, more than 200,000 people took part in demonstrations across Russia today.

Social tension is currently riding a high wave in Russia. Yesterday, trade union leaders raised the threat of a prolonged general strike if delayed wages totaling an estimated $8 billion are not paid soon. Hundreds of thousands of Russians carried out a strike across the country two days ago to protest delayed wages and urge the government to draft a payment plan.

Meanwhile, Yeltsin today signed a decree renaming revolution Day to a "Day of National Accord and Reconciliation."

For most Russians, Revolution Day has become mainly a chance to relax and stay home from work. Today is the beginning of a three-day holiday.