In the Soviet Union, Subbotnik or "Red Saturday", is a kind of reverse capitalism -- the one day each year when the Soviet people work for no pay.
In the Soviet Union, Subbotnik or "Red Saturday", is a kind of reverse capitalism -- the one day each year when the Soviet people work for no pay. In principle, this pay is levied to pay for social programmes, but this year, seventy five percent of it will go to Moscow's staunchest ally in south-east Asia -- Vietnam.
SYNOPSIS: In Moscow, a large army of school children, students and office workers turned out to give the city its annual spring cleaning.
This tradition began sixty years ago when fifteen railway locomotive workers voluntarily worked overtime for no pay. Lenin was so impressed by this act that he called it "the real beginning of Communism". The following year, Lenin himself took part in the first official Subbotnik. For the past month, Soviet newspapers have featured nation-wide plans to spark enthusiasm for Subbotnik.
This voluntary overtime by one hundred and fifty million Soviet citizens was expected to raise more than one million roubles (66 million dollars). But, according to Reuters news agency, it was only on the day itself that workers in offices and factories learned where three-quarters of their volunteer pay was going. In Czechoslovakia, too, Reuters said, workers were surprised to learn that more than fifty percent of their Subbotnik pay was earmarked for Vietnam.
According to official statements, the remaining twenty-five percent of the voluntary contributions will be spent on such projects as hospitals, clinics, forest schools, sanatoria, and medical facilities for children. After this spring clean-up in Moscow, the city was dressed-up with banners and flowers.