Communists celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution with marches Friday, while President Boris Yeltsin urged Russians to remember the victims of the bloody upheaval.

Hundreds of thousands rallied in several Russian cities and in some former Soviet republics. Elderly marchers dominated the gatherings, with youths celebrating the holiday only as a day off from work or school."Today, we are simply obliged to remember all those who perished in the civil strife. We also must understand and forgive those who made the fatal mistake of putting a utopian idea above human lives," Yeltsin said in a nationwide TV address.

The old Soviet Union marked anniversaries of the 1917 October Revolution - which falls on Nov. 7 according to the Julian calendar Russia switched to after the revolution - with large-scale marches and Red Square military parades that attracted worldwide attention.

Now, Communists are battling to keep the tradition alive in a country that is increasingly indifferent to the anniversary.