Unity Day

Unity Day is national holiday in Russian Federation held on November 4

Russian religious leaders (Armenian, Judaic, Muslim, Buddhist, Orthodox, Old Believer) during the official celebrations of the National Unity Day, 2012
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It commemorates the popular uprising which expelled Polish occupation forces from Moscow in November 1612, and more generally the end of the Time of Troubles and the Polish-Muscovite War (1605–1618).

Monument Minin and Pozharsky in NN.jpg
pinterest button Monument Minin and Pozharsky in NN.jpg Torin-ru, Public Domain

The day's name alludes to the idea that all classes of Russian society united to preserve Russian statehood when there was neither a tsar nor a patriarch to guide them.

In 1613 tsar Mikhail Romanov instituted a holiday named Day of Moscow’s Liberation from Polish Invaders.

Celebrations at the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky in Moscow, 2008
pinterest button Celebrations at the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky in Moscow, 2008 Presidential Press and Information Office, CC BY-SA 3.0

It was celebrated in the Russian Empire until 1917, when it was replaced with a commemoration of the Russian Revolution.

Unity Day was reinstituted by the Russian Federation in 2005, when the events of the year 1612 have been celebrated instead of those of 1917 every November 4 since. The day is also the feast day of the Russian Orthodox icon of Our Lady of Kazan.

Controversy

President Vladimir Putin reestablished the holiday in order to replace the commemoration of the October Revolution, known as The Day of Great October Socialist Revolution during Soviet period and as The Day of Accord and Conciliation in post-Soviet times, which formerly took place on November 7.

Russian religious leaders (Armenian, Judaic, Muslim, Buddhist, Orthodox, Old Believer) during the official celebrations of the National Unity Day, 2012
pinterest button Russian religious leaders (Armenian, Judaic, Muslim, Buddhist, Orthodox, Old Believer) during the official celebrations of the National Unity Day, 2012   Presidential Press and Information Office, CC BY-SA 3.0

His decision angered some sections of the public, particularly the Communist Party, who continued with celebrations on November 7.

Putin's predecessor, Boris Yeltsin took a limited action of changing the name of the holiday; by completely removing it, Putin sparked a controversy that continues today.

Unity Day
also called Day of People’s Unity or National Unity Day
Russian: День народного единства, Translit: 'Denʹ narodnogo yedinstva'

Historical events

2005

The center of the first reinstituted Unity Day was Nizhny Novgorod. The monument to Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky was opened in Moscow, and President Putin laid flowers there. The Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', Alexy II also attended. In Moscow, two processions and the "Russian March" passed. Religious processions took place with local heads of administrations.

Several fundraisers were held: in Tula, adistrict art festival took place for children with disabilities, and in Kaluga, veterans and orphans were given local confectionery products.

2006

A "Russian March" took place, despite bans in cities such as Moscow. Nizhny Novgorod planned a 90-minute grand visual show, attended by more than 1,000 actors.

2007

Vladimir Khotinenko made the historical film 1612, telling the story behind the holiday. In Moscow alone 39 events were held. Vladimir Putin traditionally laid flowers at the monument to Minin and Pozharsky and presented the Pushkin Medal at a reception in the Moscow Kremlin, "For the preservation of Russian spiritual heritage" and "promotion of Russian language".

2008

President Dmitry Medvedev laid flowers at the monument to Minin and Pozharsky and organized a reception in the Grand Kremlin Palace. In Revolution Square, 7,000 attended a meeting devoted to the Day of National Unity. Activists of the youth movement "Nashi" called for a day of "under the covers" - 10,000 young people gathered on Vasilevsky Descent Square to sew a patchwork of thousands into the so-called "blanket the world". There was a free rock festival "Call", aimed at combating negative phenomena among young people, such as drugs.

2010

There was a celebration of the consecration of the restored gate icon of St. Nicholas Mozhaiskogo on the Nikolskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin, with the participation of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', Kirill I.

2012

The center of celebrations was again Nizhny Novgorod. The organization of the regional government allocated a holiday budget of 15,200,000 rubles. In addition, on November 4 in Nizhny Novgorod, a sculpture 30 meters in length and about 5 meters in heightwas erected, with the image of Kozma Minin.