National Geographic : 1971 May
Hoofs hammer the frozen Neva at a troika race in front of the old Stock Ex change building, which now houses the Central Navy Museum. For a wealthy aristocrat, life in Imperial Russia was a series of lavish diversions: horse and yacht races, dazzling balls, water carnivals, embellishment of ever-grander mansions, The anniversary of the Revolution has be come the major holiday of the Soviet year. Leningrad, where it all happened, celebrates the day with particular zest. It falls on No vember 7, which is the Gregorian equivalent of October 25 on the Julian calendar used in pre-revolutionary Russia. EARLY IN NOVEMBER workmen ap peared in strength throughout the city. They swathed every lamppost on Nev sky Prospekt with red bunting and festooned the avenue with an electric canopy of light bulbs. From the facade of the Gostiny Dvor, 658 huge portraits of members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party-includ ing Comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin-peered noncommittally at the passers-by. Images of Lenin appeared everywhere (page 637). On the eve of the anniversary, shoppers mobbed Nevsky Prospekt, buying provisions for the traditional feasts. The gastronoms bulged, and the Sever closed three hours early, its last pastry sold. In Passage, a store that specializes in feminine items, a 300-foot-long queue of women pressed forward to snap up a decidedly non-revolutionary product-blue lace brassieres imported from France.