Next to posters for the glory of the revolution, Donetsk citizens carried signs declaring “Ukraine — aggressor,” “OSCE, open your eyes!” and “Save the people of Donbass!”
By Julia Andrienko
“The seventh day of November is the red day on the calendar!” — so this day began in my childhood. It was a real holiday in the midst of gloomy November: with a parade, relatives coming from long distances, and universal joy. Later I learned that behind it all there was the 8-hour working day, free healthcare and education, social security, and most importantly — unconditional pride for your country. But then I was just a little thing with balloons, and I took everything for granted: a three-room apartment in a new building given to my parents as young specialists, the absence of war in my country, and travel throughout the Soviet Union. How could it be otherwise? Now I know it could.
Our proud Donetsk does not surrender to the enemy
November 7 this year in Donetsk was rainy and gray, but long before the start of the march, scheduled for 10:30, people gathered at the entrance of the Krupskaya Library. Unfolding the banner – handing out signs. Here are some that I remember from childhood — miniature red and gold flags on wooden sticks. A woman opens a package — it’s full of improvised red bows — just like Ilyich’s on some postcards. Bows fly away instantly, like leaflets with such familiar calls: “Workers of all countries, unite!”, “Power to the Soviets, land to the peasants, peace to the peoples!” Most participants are people who still remember the Soviet demonstrations. But I see young people among them.
I approach a young participant, asking, didn’t school classes start?
“For me this is a great day, maybe the most glorious day in our history. I’ve been interested in this topic for a long time, I read a lot, today I’ve asked permission to be absent from school to take part in the procession, “says 16-year-old Alexander Gordeev.
We are Pioneers, children of workers
Suddenly I notice several kids with red ties in the crowd. They turn out to be Pioneers of the revived organization in the name of Vladimir Lenin, successors to the former Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union. They’re no different from me in 1986, except they have cell phones.
“I know that there are already about 400 pioneers in the Republic. The children want to be useful, they come to us by the call of their hearts,” says Anton Saenko, first secretary of the Makeyevsky Municipal Committee of the Lenin Komsomol of the Donetsk People’s Republic, who brought the Pioneers from Makeyevka. “Such an organization should exist — we help elders, tell the children about our history. Is it possible to strike it out? Alas, we do not have a law on political parties in the Republic right now, but this does not prevent us from doing good deeds.”
At 10.30 our motley column starts from the entrance of the Krupskaya Library towards Lenin Square. Four hundred strong, the demonstrators did not block Artem Street. To the sound of the “Internationale” performed by a brass band, people calmly walk along the sidewalk. In the hands of people, on their signs and banners, apart from revolutionary slogans, I see calls to stop the war one Donbass. Somewhere in the crowd comes a shout: “Glory to Great October!” Immediately comes the answer: “Hurray!” I hear the older generation addressing each other with the forgotten word “comrade!”
At the rally, deputies and militia speak. Particularly memorable was the statement by Beneth Ayo, a Black soldier of the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
“Today we are celebrating a great event, which has yet to be evaluated by posterity. From my point of view, this is the most monumental event of the past century. We lost a lot with the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve been robbed of everything that was created in 70 years of Soviet power, but we must not lose our memory and history” — the man almost cries out with pain.
To the small rally on the Jubilee of October came a real internationalist, Christina Franz, a member of the German Left Party. The woman said that it is an honor for her to visit Donetsk and see its heroic people. After her speech, an elderly Donchanka came to her and handed Christine a rare postcard depicting Lenin. One woman with the Donbass dialect, the other with a German accent, talked like old friends.
The rally ended, the rain was still frosty, but the people did not disperse for a long time. People had a lot to talk about, and to remember. And Ilyich looked at them from above.
Translated by Greg Butterfield