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June 12 is Russia Day!

8. June 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

On June 12, 1990, Soviet leaders signed the declaration of Russia's state sovereignty. That document symbolized the beginning of democratic reforms in Russia and also marked one of the first steps towards the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. This day became a national holiday in 1992, known as the Day of Adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Federation.

 

In 1997, Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin suggested renaming it to Russia Day and in 2002 the Russian Parliament made it official when they adopted a new version of Russia's Labor Code. When the new holiday was first introduced, many Russians refused to celebrate it. The demise of the Soviet Union led to unemployment and poverty so they saw no reason for celebration. Like most holidays, they spent the day with family and friends.

 

Today, many Russians celebrate their national pride on this occasion, attending parades, concerts, festivals, and enjoying fireworks, much like on Victory Day. National awards are given to prominent Russian writers, scientists, and humanitarians from the President. Since June 12 falls on a Saturday this year, many businesses will be closed on Monday.

 

One event honoring Russian history is already on display near the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. Thousands of tons of sand have been sculpted just in time for Russia Day. Artists from Russia, Ukraine, Portugal, Spain, Canada, and the United States participated in a month long course to learn all about Russian history. They each selected their favorite aspect and all together created a sand-sational masterpiece. On Saturday, the artists will offer sand sculpting demonstrations for the public, while a dozen Irishmen living in Moscow play Russian folk music on bagpipes.  

 

 

Photo credit: Vladimir Filonov, The Moscow Times