Kyrgyzstan renames Soviet-era October Revolution Day

BISHKEK (TCA) — The parliament of Kyrgyzstan has approved a resolution transforming the Soviet-era October Revolution Day holiday into a two-day holiday called Days of History and Commemoration of Ancestors, RFE/RL reports.

The parliament’s press service said amendments to the 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 Atambayev 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 imperial 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 Atambayev’s proposal, Russian State Duma deputy speaker Igor Lebedev described the Kyrgyz initiative as an “unfriendly move,” which was immediately denied by official Bishkek in its reply to the Russian lawmaker.

Until now, Kyrgyzstan has been the only post-Soviet state in which November 7 was marked as the Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution, and was a non-working day.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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