On June 12, 1990 Soviet leaders signed a declaration of Russiaâ€™s state sovereignty. That document symbolized the beginning of democratic reforms in Russia. It also marked one of the first steps to the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. The first celebration occurred on June 12 became a public holiday in 1994.
Russian Independence Day
It was originally named “Russian Independence Day,” marking both the day when Russia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. Sadly many Russians didn’t understand it’s meaning and refused to celebrate it. Understanding this Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin suggested renaming it to Russia Day in 1997 (the holiday’s original name was the Day of Signing the Declaration of State Sovereignty)
Free from Enslavement
Russians simply see it as a third incarnation of a state that has always been, they feel that they have always been autonomous starting when the Mongols were defeated in the 16th century. They had not fought a war like the Americans did to gain their independence from England, yet they fought off Hitler and Napoleon to stay free from enslavement and a worse tyranny than they already had, calling it an “Independence Day” was understandably ridiculous and slightly offensive to them.
Glory to Russia!
In 2006 40,000 environmentalists marched on Tverskaya, demanding greater awareness and attention to environmental issues and mixing their demands with exclamations of national pride. Banners strung above the streets by the city government read “Russia Forward!” and “Glory to Russia!” The youths themselves carried similar signs, such as one reading “Russia was, is and will be a great power.” If we look closely we can see that in the reality, Russians had their freedom. In the beginning it might have been a bit odd but they were finding their feet.
Today is “Russia Day”
Today “Russia Day” reflects the culture’s relationship with its own past and present. Although Russia did not achieve independence in the typical sense of the word, it is reminder of the period of uncertainty, and the progression of Russian people towards to a more open society. It is celebrated with a number of festivities with great fanfare and joyous revelry.
Still in Search of “Herself”
Since it’s birth 26 years ago it is still in the midst of a religious revival and a country which sees itself as still in search of itself.