Maurice Isserman

  • Reds, Menaced

    ON MAY 1, 1997, A SCANT HALF-DOZEN YEARS after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I found myself in the Russian capital with a day off from my teaching duties at Moscow State University and decided to head over to Red Square to see what a May Day parade looked like on its home grounds. It proved to be nothing like the televised versions I remembered from the evening news during cold-war days. One of the most sacred and extravagantly celebrated rites of the official Soviet calendar had become a scruffy protest march by a few thousand pensioners. Onlookers reacted to the sight of this aging rabble,