RUSSIAN and British communists stood up for the legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution yesterday ahead of its centenary on Tuesday.
Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths defended the achievements of Soviet power on the BBC’s Daily Politics show via videolink from St Petersburg.
Presenter Jo Coburn asked Mr Griffiths whether the Russian Revolution — which she described as a violent “coup” followed by repression — should be celebrated.
Mr Griffiths insisted: “The revolution transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people over the following 60 or 70 years.
“It provided education and health services for entire populations that hadn’t previously received them,” he pointed out.
“It gave them low-cost housing, public transport, it gave them science, it gave them great advances in just about every field of life.”
The communist leader was cut off before he could argue any more in favour of the workers’ state.
Mr Griffiths was attending the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in the birthplace of the revolution, called Leningrad in the Soviet era and site of a heroic defence against the invading nazi hordes in the second world war, when it resisted besieging German troops for 872 days in the longest and most lethal siege in history.
Representatives from 103 parties were present at the conference.
Meanwhile the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), hosts of the event, accused the Kremlin of a deliberate campaign to distract the masses from the centenary.
Russia Today reported the KPRF had released the report One Hundred Years Later — Non-Forgotten Revolution.
It quoted a September poll that found 58 per cent of Russians were not aware of the coming anniversary, while only 29 per cent were aware of of events to mark the centenary.
KPRF central committee secretary Sergey Obukhov told the Kommersant daily: “They are silencing this issue so that ordinary people don’t have to choose sides.”
The report claimed President Vladimir Putin’s government had waged proxy campaigns to distract from the momentous historical event.
They included the media furore over the new film “Matilda,” about an alleged affair between the last Tsar Nicholas II and ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya, which has brought down the wrath of the Russian Orthodox church.
The report said media articles about the film outnumbered those on the revolution’s centenary by 10 to one.