November 7 – October Revolution Day in Belarus

Posted on November 7, 2014

This beautiful photo of Belarus portrays
the hope of the future...
The October Revolution occurred in Russia, not Belarus – and, as you might expect, it occurred in October, not November, of 1917.

So why is Belarus celebrating a revolution in another nation...and in another month?

Let's start again with Russia in 1917. In February of that year, the czarist rule of Russia had been overthrown. A provisional government of noblemen had been created...but workers began to organize in councils, or soviets. The October Revolution was when Lenin and other socialist / communist Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional, aristocratic government.

But when I say "October," I mean October according to the Old Style (Julian) calendar. The date on the Gregorian calendar – the calendar used by most of the world at the time – was November 7.

And of course, since then, Russia finally has adopted the Gregorian calendar.

Belarus has a rich history.
So that's why Belarusians celebrate an October event in November (because it really happened in November, according to most calendars then and virtually all calendars now) – but why are they celebrating an event that occurred in Russia?

Actually, back in 1917, Belarus had been part of the Russian Empire and was part of the brand new Russian “Republic”; it continued to be a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that grew out of the 1917 revolution. The uprising that occurred in various spots of Russia also swept through Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

Belarus is a modern nation...
but unfortunately not incredibly free
or democratic...

Why, oh why?

As I said, Belarus was a part of the USSR, and as such the people lacked many of the essential freedoms of speech, press, and assembly that people in the “West” enjoy. 

Now that the USSR has been gone for more than two decades, I hoped that Belarus would be a free and democratic nation. 

However, both Russia and Belarus are still mired in oppressive regimes; their elections are still unfair, and their freedoms are highly curtailed. Belarus is rated as “Not Free” and as the very worst in all of Europe in its freedom of the press!

Now for the good news...

Belarus has some really precious natural resources, such as the only primeval lowland oak woods in the world, with more than 30 lakes hidden away in the ancient forest, and the largest population of bison in Europe.

Actually, nearly half of the country is covered by forests, and there are more than 11,000 lakes!

And of course, as in other European nations, there are fascinating churches and castles and forts in Belarus!

To learn more about Belarus, check out this and this other earlier post. 

Cool monument in Brest, Belarus

Also on this date:

Physicist Marie Curie's birthday 

Anniversary of the collapse of a bridge 

Plan ahead:

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