'Revolutionary Reform' in Soviet Factories

David Mandel


On June 2 1962, on the second day of their strike, the workers of the giant Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Factory, joined by the rest of the worker population of this southern Russian town, set off for the city centre some 10 kilometers away. Peter Siuda, then a worker at the locomotive factory and one of the strike leaders who had been arrested early that morning, gives the following account of what followed, based on eye-witness reports. 'Red flags and portraits of Lenin appeared in the columns. The demonstrators sang revolutionary songs. As they approached the bridge over the railway and the Tuzlov River, the demonstrators saw on the bridge a cordon of armed soldiers and two tanks. The column halted and fell silent. The revolutionary songs ceased. Then shouts rang out: "Make way for the working class!" These shouts grew into a mass chant. With precision and tremendous force, they repeated: "Make way for the working class!" The soldiers and tankmen did not try to stop the column but began to help the workers over the tanks. The massive current of humanity flowed around the cordon and over the tanks on the bridge. Spirits soared and the demonstrators again took up the revolutionary songs, louder that before, more forcefully, and in unison."

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