Russia celebrates Day of People's Unity

Russia celebrates Day of People's Unity

Russia is marking the Day of People's Unity today, dedicated to the liberation of Moscow from foreign intervention in 1612, when Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky formed consolidated militia and saved the country from destruction.

The 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 'Time of Troubles' in the early 17th century provoked by the dynastic crisis resulted seriously weakened the country. The pro-Polish factions among the boyars, led by Fyodor Mstislavsk gained dominance and a majority of the boyars said that they would support the Polish prince Władysław IV for the Russian throne.

The leader of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Hermogenes called on Russian people to protect their country. But the anti-Polish uprising of March 19, 1611 was suppressed.

The nation rose together under the leadership of Kuzma Minin, a Nizhny Novgorod merchant, and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky. Russian reinforcements under prince Pozharsky forced the Commonwealth garrison to surrender on the November 4 after the 19-month siege.

In February 1613, with the Poles expelled from Moscow, a national assembly elected Mikhail Romanov, the young son of Patriarch Filaret, to the throne.

 In 1649, Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich made November 4 a public holiday - the Day of the Our Lady of Kazan icon. Russians celebrated this day until 1917.

Thus, the Day of People's Unity is not a new holiday, it marks a return to the old tradition, RIA Novosti reports.

The deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University, Andrei Suzdaltsev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, said that the Day of People's Unity has not yet become as natural holiday for Russians, as it was before the revolution.
"In general, people's awareness was much wider. Now, unfortunately, there is no critical mass of historical information in the minds of the Russians to take the holiday as something objective and necessary," he complained.
Therefore, according to the expert, Russian writers, filmmakers, historians and even politicians are facing a challenge to popularize this holiday. "For the first time a government was formed to save the country, the people have shown an active position, there was even a president, because Kuzma Minin in fact was the president who hired Prince Dmitry Pozharsky as a military person to liberate the capital of Russia from the invaders," Suzdaltsev explained.
"Experts fully understand these events, but the population has not yet understand, therefore, a large-scale work is necessary," the deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University said.
The Director of the Center for Political Information, Alexei Mukhin, in turn, pointed out that, in general, the Russians have a quite positive attitude toward the new holiday, which actually replaced the November 7th.
"Although the events of 1612 are forgotten to a certain extent, but, nevertheless, they are of immense historical importance for Russia," the analyst stressed.
The expert recalled that any new holidays always cannot take root for a long time. "And this holiday is considered to be young, so we should not rush. Gradually, over time, the Day of People's Unity will be perceived by the Russians as a natural holiday, including through the efforts of cultural figures," Alexei Mukhin assured.
The Scientific Director of the Russian Military-Historical Society, Professor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Mikhail Myagkov, noticed that the Day of People's Unity means a lot to our history.
At the same time, Myagkov noted that the old holiday and the new one - the November 7th and the November 4th - have something in common, and namely, the unconditional desire of people to make Russia stronger. "Yes, today, the November 7th is primarily associated with the collapse of the old Russia, but for the older generation this holiday was a symbol of striving for a new development. Now, it is time for the November 4th," the Scientific Director of the Russian Military-Historical Society explained.
"I think that over time the Russians will get used to the Day of People's Unity, as it has happened with other holidays," the expert noted.
According to him, the Day of People's Unity is particularly relevant today, when the country is preparing to adopt a law on the Russian nation. "We need to develop a law to protect the Russian nation from various encroachments, prevent any insult of one nation by representatives of the other one," the historian pointed out.
Myagkov said that the popularization of the holiday should be conducted in historical terms. "An important role will be played by the tomorrow's opening of the monument to Prince Vladimir," the expert noted.