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Kyrgyzstan Renames Soviet-Era October Revolution Day, Lengthens Holiday

Kyrgyz officials including President Almazbek Atambaev attended the opening in Bishkek of a memorial to the 1916 Urkun uprising on September 2, 2016.

Kyrgyz lawmakers have approved a resolution that transforms the Soviet-era October Revolution Day holiday into a two-day holiday called Days of History and Commemoration of Ancestors.

The parliament's press service said amendments to the Central Asian country's labor laws would be introduced in the near future that formalize the name change and expand the November 7 holiday to also include November 8.

Outgoing President Almazbek Atambaev on October 26 proposed that the November 7 holiday be renamed.

He said the name change was needed to provide "an objective historic assessment on the national liberation uprising and the tragic events of 1916" in Kyrgyzstan, known as Urkun.

The mass uprising ensued in 1916 when Russia decided to draft Central Asians into the army as unarmed workers in order to build fortifications during World War I.

Many Kyrgyz and Kazakhs refused the order and openly rebelled against the Russian authorities.

At least 150,000 Kyrgyz were killed by Russian tsarist troops, and hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring Chinese province of Xinjiang.

In August 2016, a public commission in Kyrgyzstan concluded that the 1916 mass crackdown constituted "genocide."

A day after Atambaev's proposal, Russian State Duma speaker Igor Lebedev described his call as an "unfriendly move."

With reporting by RIA Novosti
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