Day of Russian Unity
01 November, 2013
This Monday, the 4th of November, Russia celebrates the Day of Russian Unity (День народного единства). The day marks the anniversary of the uprising, which expelled Polish-Lithuanian forces from Moscow in 1612, ending the period known as the Time of Troubles (Смутное время). The day is celebrated with an official state commemoration in Nizhny Novgorod (Нижний Новгород) and also, often times, a protest in Moscow, making it one of Russia’s most controversial holidays.
The holiday is also one of Russia’s newest, having only been established in 2005. President Putin intended the holiday to be a continuation of an older holiday, which was first celebrated in 1613 until 1917, when the Bolsheviks replaced the day with a celebration of the October Revolution. Because of this complicated history, the holiday does not enjoy widespread popularity in Russia today and is often a day of protest for members of the present day communist party as well as neo-Nazi groups.
Despite the controversy, the day has been used as an occasion to celebrate Russian culture and heritage and support movements that help the disabled, children, teenagers and orphans. Be sure to use the occasion to celebrate Russian Unity in your own way!