Unity Day (Russia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Unity Day
NN 07-08-2020 48.jpg
Official nameDay of People's Unity
Observed byRussia Russia
SignificanceThe expelling of Polish–Lithuanian occupation forces from Moscow in November 1612, the end of the Time of Troubles and the turning point of the Polish-Russian War (1605–1618)
CelebrationsFlag hoisting, Parades, Fireworks, Award ceremonies, singing patriotic songs and the National anthem, Speeches by the President, entertainment and cultural programs
DateNovember 4
Celebrations at the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky in Moscow, 2008

Unity Day (also called Day of People’s Unity or National Unity Day; Russian: День народного единства, Denʹ narodnogo yedinstva) is a national holiday in Russia held on November 4 (October 22, Old Style). It commemorates the popular uprising which expelled Polish–Lithuanian occupation forces from Moscow in November 1612, and more generally the end of the Time of Troubles and turning point of the Polish-Russian War (1605–1618).

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.[1] 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.


According to a poll in 2007, only 23 percent of Russians know the name of the holiday, up from 8 percent in 2005. 22 percent identified the holiday as the Day of Accord and Reconciliation, the name of the holiday on November 7 during the 1990s. Only 4 percent knew that the holiday commemorates the liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders, and in 2005, only 5 percent. [2]


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,[3] which formerly took place on November 7. His decision angered some sections of the public,[4] 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 initiated a controversy that continues to this very day.

Events (2005 onwards)[edit]


The center of the first of the revived tradition was Nizhny Novgorod, where monument to Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky and Vladimir Putin laid flowers. The Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', Alexy II was also in attendance. Activities in Moscow, included two processions and a "Russian March". Religious processions occurred with local heads of administration in attendance. Fundraisers were held in Tula, a district art festival occurred for children with disabilities, and in Kaluga, veterans and orphans were given local confectionery products.


A Russian March took place, despite bans in cities such as Moscow. A ninety-minute show involving more than a thousand actors was staged in Nizhny Novgorod.


1612, Vladimir Khotinenko's historical film dramatizing the event the holiday commemorates, was released on November 1. Thirty-nine events were held in Moscow alone. Vladimir Putin 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 the Russian language".


President Dmitry Medvedev offering flowers to the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky in Red Square in 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.


A celebration was held 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.


Russian religious leaders (Armenian, Judaic, Muslim, Buddhist, Orthodox, Old Believer) during the official celebrations of the National Unity Day, 2012

Nizhny Novgorod was once again the center of the celebration. The organization of the regional government allocated a holiday budget of 15,200,000 rubles. Here, a sculpture 30 meters in length and about 5 meters in height was erected, with the image of Kozma Minin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Russia Newsroom article".
  2. ^ "The Moscow Times".
  3. ^ "Trinity College Page".
  4. ^ For example, see Акция против дня «Народного единства»