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Long Live May Day, comrades!

May 2, 2010

The Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan (yes, we still have them!) held a May Day rally on May 1 in the Old Square of Bishkek. The rally gathered about 100-150 people, mainly elderly pensioners, who came with portraits of Lenin and Stalin,and with banners that read old Soviet-style slogans like “Energy to People” and “Socialism – the only way out of crisis.”

The Communists spoke about the recent events in Kyrgyzstan and accused the interim government of not protecting workers’ rights. “More than 600 people working in Jogorku Kenesh (Kyrgyz Parliament) lost their jobs after the Parliament was dissolved,” – said Iskhak Masaliev, chairman of the Communist Party. He continued saying that the Communist Party was the only party that had been working hard on protecting workers’ rights in Kyrgyzstan. The rally lasted about an hour, and came to its end with the new party song (with old music), which made some emotional old people cry.

Maybe for these old people the Communist Party still means something, but for generation that grew up in new capitalist and democratic Kyrgyzstan it means just a mere history, the symbols of which have become “cool” recently. Maybe therefore I found the communist rally very entertaining, as you dont see that many soviet things in Bishkek in one day. It felt as if I was back in the Communist Museum in Prague, which I liked a lot during my last visit to Czech Republic.

PS. Personally, I do not agree with some Baltic and Central Asian states that treat their Soviet legacy hostile. It is a recent history, and you can neither change nor erase it. All you can do is learn from the mistakes of the past – it will make you not to repeat them. Therefore, we need to preserve the history, be it good or bad.

For many old people, the Communist Party still means a lot. Not because of the ideology, but because of the mere fact that they lived better under the communism...

Click “read more” to watch the slideshow of all photos from the rally.

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