Celebrations, Commemorative Dates and Related Rituals: Soviet Experience, its Transformation and Contemporary Victory Day Celebrations in Russia and Latvia

THE GEOPOLITICS OF HISTORY IN LATVIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS, N. Muižnieks, ed., Academic Press of the University of Latvia, 2011

240 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2011

See all articles by Olga Procevska

Olga Procevska

University of Latvia

Vita Zelče

University of Latvia

Klinta Ločmele

University of Latvia

Date Written: April 8, 2011

Abstract

The list of state and professional celebrations and dates when the military is celebrated and commemorated in the Russian Federation is quite long, with more than 100 events in all. Their historical origins differ. There are celebrations that were established during the Soviet era, while others even date back to the Russian Empire. There are days when the Soviet Union’s military achievements and units are celebrated. There is a day to commemorate the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, and there are a few dates for grief and commemoration of the war dead. Russia’s official calendar of national holidays lists eight celebrations – the New Year (January 1-5), Orthodox Christmas (January 7), Defence of the Fatherland Day (February 23), International Women’s Day (March 8), Labour or Spring Day (May 1), Victory Day (May 9), Russian Day (June 12), and National Unity Day (November 4). The status of a date of commemoration has been given to Student Day (January 25) and Cosmonautics Day (April 12). Commemorative days include the day when the Great War of the Fatherland Began in 1941 (June 22), a date to commemorate partisans and underground activists (June 29), a date related to solidarity in the struggle against terrorism (September 3), the date of the October Revolution in 1917 (November 7), a date to commemorate the heroes of the fatherland (December 9), and Constitution Day for the Russian Federation (December 12). The list of celebrations and commemorative days, moreover, is adjusted from time to time. In April 2009, for instance, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law which placed the day when partisans and underground activists are commemorated on the official list of commemorative days, starting in 2010.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia, like other former Soviet republics, has undergone a substantial transformation in its calendar of commemoration, the related rituals and the meanings thereof. The purpose of this chapter is to review celebrations, dates of commemoration and related rituals in Russia, both from the historical perspective and from their meaning today. The goal of this chapter is to review Russian government policies vis-à-vis national holidays and commemorations, as well as the effects these policies have on Latvia.

Suggested Citation

Procevska, Olga and Zelče, Vita and Ločmele, Klinta, Celebrations, Commemorative Dates and Related Rituals: Soviet Experience, its Transformation and Contemporary Victory Day Celebrations in Russia and Latvia (April 8, 2011). THE GEOPOLITICS OF HISTORY IN LATVIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS, N. Muižnieks, ed., Academic Press of the University of Latvia, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1806000 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1806000

Olga Procevska (Contact Author)

University of Latvia ( email )

19 Raina Boulevard
Riga LV 1586
Latvia

Vita Zelče

University of Latvia ( email )

19 Raina Boulevard
Riga LV 1586
Latvia

Klinta Ločmele

University of Latvia ( email )

19 Raina Boulevard
Riga LV 1586
Latvia

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