Author Topic: National Day of Unity -- November 4th  (Read 3362 times)

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Offline RichC

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National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« on: November 04, 2005, 03:17:31 PM »
Here is the link:

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/6312800a-4cd7-11da-89df-0000779e2340.html


New Russian holiday harks back to time of troubles
By Arkady Ostrovsky
Published: November 4 2005 02:00 | Last updated: November 4 2005 02:00

For the first time in almost 90 years Russia will not celebrate on November 7 the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, later renamed by Boris Yeltsin "Day of Agreement and Reconciliation".


The country today will celebrate a new holiday, the Day of National Unity, which commemorates one of the most mythologised episodes in Russian history: the liberation of Moscow from Polish occupiers in 1612.

Few Russians know the exact meaning of the new holiday - just eight per cent, according to an opinion poll. Nor do the vast majority of Russians care much about the old one; the anniversary of the revolution had long lost any political meaning.

For millions of Russians, with the exception of die-hard communists, it was simply a day off between summer holidays and New Year's day - a chance to drink, with a televised military parade on Red Square thrown in.

Although the new holiday is unlikely to upset many Russians, given the proximity of the dates, it does reflect an important attempt to redefine the nation's identity. Andrei Zorin, a professor of Russian at Oxford University, says "the new holiday celebrates Russia's defensiveness towards the outside world and isolationism".

The holiday also risks being hijacked by ultra-nationalist parties that are planning a number of demonstrations against migrants and other ethnic "occupiers".

Officially, November 4 marks the end of the Time of Troubles - a period of chaos in the early 17th century when Moscow's nobility, worn out by civil conflicts, swore allegiance to Polish Prince Wladislav.

Their shift antagonised the majority of the country and, at the end of 1612, Kuzma Minin, a merchant, and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky led a militia that liberated Moscow from the Poles. The following year Mikhail Romanov was elected tsar, founding the dynasty that ruled Russia until 1917.

President Vladimir Putin has often equated the period of Mr Yeltsin's rule to the Time of Troubles, when the economy was weak and the nation's unity disintegrated. "Mr Yeltsin worked in the period of revolutions. I think Russia had enough revolutions. Now we should have a period of stability and strengthening of the state institutions," Mr Putin declared at the beginning of his presidency.

"The new holiday equates the turmoil of the 1990s with the Time of Troubles and declares this time to be over," Mr Zorin said. "It promises stability under the new dynasty, which reasserts its power by a show trial of one of the most powerful boyars of the previous reign - Mikhail Khodorkovsky - and exile of the others."

Over the past year, and particularly since the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the idea of national unity in the face of a perceived threat from the west has dominated Russian politics.

This is not the first time the 1612 victory over Poles has been used for arousing patriotic feelings.

It served a similar purpose in 1812, during Russia's war with Napoleon. "In the modern Russian mythology," said Mr Zorin, "the centre of global intrigues against Russian interest has shifted from Paris to Washington and the role of ungrateful brothers ready to betray their Slavic identity for the trappings of western civilisation is played by the Ukrainians."

The last time that Russia evoked the myth of Minin and Pozharsky was during the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913.

Tsar Nicholas II at the time enjoyed an economic boom that was accompanied by a rise in nationalism and anti-Semitism. Stability was the word. Four years later the Bolshevik revolution took place.





Offline Belochka

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2005, 06:53:36 PM »
Quote
The country today will celebrate a new holiday, the Day of National Unity, which commemorates one of the most mythologised episodes in Russian history: the liberation of Moscow from Polish occupiers in 1612.

Few Russians know the exact meaning of the new holiday - just eight per cent, according to an opinion poll. Nor do the vast majority of Russians care much about the old one; the anniversary of the revolution had long lost any political meaning.


Last night I spoke at length with my friend in Russia by phone. While delighted that he had the day off, he was more delighted that the bolshevik revolution will not be celebrated ever again.

No longer to celebrate bloodletting from within, but Russia's long forgotten liberation from a foreign power, which one year later fascilitated the Romanov dynasty to commence its rule for the next +300 years.

This progressive move shall remove some of the nation's shackles to her recent grim past, and should help instill patriotism among the citizens of Russia in her new found democracy.
  :D


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Offline Lucien

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2005, 02:59:22 AM »
Je Maintiendrai

Offline Belochka

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2005, 03:46:23 AM »
Spasibo Lucien.

Dank u for the marvellous image!
;D


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Offline tobik

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2005, 02:17:33 AM »
Please.  This holiday is an insulting joke.  

It is an anti Catholic and anti Polish move designed to win approval the Orthodox Church and create a bit of fake nationalism.  The holiday date bears no resemblance to historical reality - there is no possible reason to celebrate it on November 4th apart from the fact that it is near Nov 7th.  I haven't got the time to explain the history but there has been a myriad of articles written in the press about the ridiculousness and irrelevance of this holiday.

It is a fake holiday which no ordinary Russian understands, indeed as shown by events the only people who celebrated it were the disgusting fascist nationalist groups who took to the streets in their masks and banners to protest against all immigrants in Russia.

Putin continues to play with fire over the nationalist issue, and this holiday stokes the flames.

Russia should have stayed with the old holiday date of Nov 7th, which had become officially The Day of Unity and Reconciliation.  Though the old holiday was still celebrated by the Communists (as it still be), this holiday was a signal that Russia was attempting to move on and apologise for what happened.   This was the only move by Yeltsin to try and crush the symbolic power of Nov 7th.  It was an important significant move that has now been done away with, by our friend in the Kremlin...

Offline Belochka

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2005, 09:31:41 PM »
Quote
Please.  This holiday is an insulting joke.  

Russia should have stayed with the old holiday date of Nov 7th, which had become officially The Day of Unity and Reconciliation.  ...


The Russian people I communicate with regularily inside Russia disagree with your assertions.

Please give the Russian people more credit, while it may be few this year, more will understand the meaning of this new national day of celebration.

To rid democratic Russia from celebrating a bloody bolshevik takeover is the right direction to travel.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline tobik

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2005, 06:33:56 AM »
Quote

The Russian people I communicate with regularily inside Russia disagree with your assertions.

Please give the Russian people more credit, while it may be few this year, more will understand the meaning of this new national day of celebration.

To rid democratic Russia from celebrating a bloody bolshevik takeover is the right direction to travel.


I think we shall agree to differ on this issue.  Living and working here in Moscow, I obviously have a different perspective on things from someone who is outside the country.

I continue to try and give the Russian people credit where it is due, however in this case I do not see any credit should be given for the fact that they have created an erroneous holiday out of nothing all in order to appease the Orthodox Church (do not forget also that this holiday coincides with the religious holiday of Our Lady of Kazan, but bares no link to the end of the time of troubles) and capitalise on anti foreign feelings in the Russian population in general.

I don't have an issue with holiday creation, indeed I would welcome a holiday on the date of e.g. Alexei's Coronation (as was celebrated in Tsarist days) which genuinely marked the end of the time of troubles.

What I have an issue with is political capital being made out of nothing.  All this holiday is designed to do is link Putin with an era he has nothing to do with and promote him as the champion of Russian nationalist feelings.

I'm sorry but one has be realistic about Russia today.  All this wishy washy, 'give Russia a chance,' and blind eyed devotion to the place that is constantly espoused in this site, will get one nowhere.  While criticisers of Russia abroad are villified in the local press and are often described as Russia haters and relics of the cold war, I would maintain that we criticise the place because we love it so much and despair to see the people continue to be trodden over by their rulers.

So bring on the genuine holidays, but why get rid of a holiday of national unity and reconciliation (what the Nov 7th became under Yeltsin) that in years to come would have been seen as a genuinely symbolic celebration of triumph over adversity in order to create some rubbish like they have?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by tobik »

Offline Belochka

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2005, 10:31:23 PM »
Quote

I think we shall agree to differ on this issue.  Living and working here in Moscow, I obviously have a different perspective on things from someone who is outside the country.


Yes we shall differ on this issue. I consider myself Russian but live in another country. I am very proud of my Russian heritage. :D

Quote
I would maintain that we criticise the place because we love it so much


And I love Russia as well, even though I am only in the position to visit her from time to time.

Privet,

Margarita

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2005, 09:34:23 AM »
I tend to agree that only if you actually  live in Russia (even for only a month, as I did this summer) and encounter "every day life" that a normal Russian citizen does, can you gain a truly realistic perspective of what is going on. It's not the same as visiting and staying in some tourist hotel at all.

It's very hard to explain unless you are living there, preferably on a limited budget (as most others are), among the people and are forced to do things like others do (in other words not as a foreign tourist).

What I noticed about the Russian people is that curiously, they often will say things to a "foreigner" that they think this person wants to hear - it may not even be a conscious effort... But as time goes by, you start to see what the true attitude is. And it isn't good... There is a general sense of doom (for the lack of a better term) but at the same time a sense of resignation because they don't think they can do anything about it... Some people are better than others at "playing the system", so they do better. But most who just want to lead normal lives are up against hardships that are difficult for most of us to imagine. And they have accepted it as normal. It's very very sad because once general apathy sets in, it's very difficult to make any changes in the system.

Hence, I tend to be very skeptical about this whole thing too... The idea of "nationalism" in Russia makes me very nervous... I don't know what the intentions are - maybe they are good, but chances are, the outcome won't be. This is the tactic that was used in Germany in the 1930's, when things were still grim and the country was suffering economically, and it didn't lead to anything good there either.

I too tend to think that Russia today needs to be criticized and criticized harshly- and there is A LOT to be criticized. Otherwise, if everyone gets into a denial and pretends that things are just peachy now - nothing will ever change there.  Russia tends to put out an "official" artificial facade to outsiders - what they want them to see and hear- but it's generally far from reality, although they are really good at it (years of practice) and many "outsiders" end up buying into it.

I just know one thing - things can't stay the way they are now in Russia, but changes will be very slow, and perhaps will take several generations if not much longer. The entire system including it's core, has to be changed and that's a tough task! Right now, the general morale seems to be very low, and perhaps this is why they are trying to encourage "nationalism". In the meantime, everyone just tries to do whatever they can to survive. Sort of like it has been for decades, except now the government won't take care of those who need to be taken care of.

Offline tobik

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2005, 06:33:20 AM »
I have been absolutely outraged by an advert I saw on TV last night from the Rodina Party.

The advert shows three Caucasian (probably Azerbaijani) looking people sitting eating watermelons.  A white Russian woman passes with her baby, the Caucasians ignore her and continue to chuck their watermelon skins on the ground.  At this point the camera pans round to Rogozin and a sidekick who says to the Caucasians, 'Enough is enough.  It's Russian - Do you understand?'  The Rodina logo then appears with the words, 'It's time to clean (ochistit' - a word which can also mean purge) Moscow of this rubbish (musor).'

It does not make much effort to realise that the advert is not referring to the watermelons chucked to the ground, but the Azeris themselves.  One can imagine the outrage if this was broadcast in the West, but here in Russia only too many approve.  This is what I mean when I say that pro nationalist sentiments and more importantly the absolute refusal to give immigrants any proper status, is creating a ticking time bomb.  Forget France, in Russia it'll be far worse.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: National Day of Unity -- November 4th
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2005, 08:03:14 AM »
Quote
I have been absolutely outraged by an advert I saw on TV last night from the Rodina Party.

The advert shows three Caucasian (probably Azerbaijani) looking people sitting eating watermelons.  A white Russian woman passes with her baby, the Caucasians ignore her and continue to chuck their watermelon skins on the ground.  At this point the camera pans round to Rogozin and a sidekick who says to the Caucasians, 'Enough is enough.  It's Russian - Do you understand?'  The Rodina logo then appears with the words, 'It's time to clean (ochistit' - a word which can also mean purge) Moscow of this rubbish (musor).'

It does not make much effort to realise that the advert is not referring to the watermelons chucked to the ground, but the Azeris themselves.  One can imagine the outrage if this was broadcast in the West, but here in Russia only too many approve.  This is what I mean when I say that pro nationalist sentiments and more importantly the absolute refusal to give immigrants any proper status, is creating a ticking time bomb.  Forget France, in Russia it'll be far worse.


Tobik, this is frightening. I noticed that this was the status quo attitude among many Russian people - a very accepted attitude - even among the highly educated (!) - but I didn't realize that this attitude was officially "sponsored" by the Russian government (and it obviously is - otherwise this advert would not have ended up on tv)... I thought that the government would at least make a pretense of not approving something like this, but I guess I was wrong.

When I was on a group tour of Russia a year and half ago, before we all ventured off on our own in Moscow, we were warned by the tour guide (via a public announcement) that we have to be aware that it is not uncommon to get stopped by militia and asked for your documents. She emphasized though that this would only be a real issue if you look "Caucasian". At first everyone was very confused, but then we realized that by "Caucasian" she meant "from the Caucausus", which would be Azerbaijani, etc. We were quite surprised at what seemed to be a fully accepted practice, which the Russians saw as "normal". I was hoping that perhaps she exaggerated, and then sort of forgot about it, until during my last visit I started talking to people. But I didn't realize how far they have gone with this state endorsed racism...

This is what I meant when I said that anything "national" in Russia at this point makes me very nervous... I would be very very nervous if I were anything but ethnically Russian living in Russia today...  For the government to rile up the people in such a way, even with a seemingly benign thing like a "national holiday" - which of course will be used as an excuse by certain factions to freely exhibit their racist position - under the guise of "Russian patriotism", it's not going to lead to anything good.

And like in Germany in 1930's, many people are probably "ripe and ready" for something like this now because their sitution is pretty bad...  I think that the government is using the common "scape goat" tactic -it's been done before. This is scary, IMO.