Russia Day – День России

Do you know that tomorrow, the 12th of June, is a national holiday in Russia? Do you know why? As you will learn from this post, even Russians are not exactly sure why tomorrow is a day off. Let’s investigate!

On the 12th of June 1990 the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian SFSR adapted a resolution proclaiming the sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic. As you might already know, the Soviet Union was a union made from different Republics. One of these was the Russian Republic.

During the first years, the 12th of June was accordingly called the Russian Day of Independence. Remember this, because this will be important later. Also, Boris Yeltsin was elected the first Russian President on this date, but in 1992.

The confusion thus stems from the fact that people sometimes wonder what exactly they are celebrating. The independence, or the election of the first president? Furthermore, the term “Independence” has raised some eyebrows through the years. Some argue that this term is somewhat wrongly applied since Russia, in most people’s eyes, always has been independent.

Still, as you remember, the day was called the Russian Independence Day. In 1998 the name was changed to “Russia Day” or «День России». Confusing? Yes it is. According to a poll made a few years ago some 60% of Russians still called the day independence day. The most recent poll, from 2012 puts this number at 36%.

How do people then celebrate this day? Well, it seems that celebrations or the lack of celebrations differ from people to people. The official Russia, i.e. the Kremlin, celebrates by handing out prizes to humanitarian workers, scientists and others. Many cities celebrate by arranging open-air festivals, fireworks or concerts.

For others, it’s just a day off from work. This could mean an extra day in the Dacha, a weekend trip or just relaxation at home. A small reminder though, if you (like me) are planning to use this day for doing touristy stuff – check the website of the museums and other places before, some might be closed.

If you are a student at Liden & Denz – no classes on June 12th!

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