Russia’s 4th of July*
by Dave Essel
Newspeak is undergoing a serious revival in Pooty’s Russia. The new November 4th public holiday that desperately tries and fails, like so many of Russia’s endeavours, to be something and mean something, is just another case in point. Even not very free-thinking Russians see it. In big things and small, neo-nazi Russia is truly the heir to the Commie Soviet Union, right down to the fact that most things means their opposite – except when they don’t: and woe betide you if you get it wrong, because that’s when your kidneys and more will be battered until you see sense. The Russian Federation has, after all, replaced the Soviet Union’s “most humane legal system in the world” with its own.
I cried ‘til I laughed.
Here from Zagolovki.ru, a news-in-brief site, is a précis of the issue.
The holiday that isn’t: 4 November is just a day off work
On 4 November Russia celebrates the Day of National Unity. According to the official version, this is the anniversary of the day on which the Poles were driven out of Moscow but Minin and Pozharsky’s uprising. This holiday, which has not become a truly national one and does not look like it will manage to do so, will be celebrated by various political forces each in their own way. Ordinary citizens will simply relax and not worry their minds about the historical meaning or other significance of yet another day off work.
“Trud” newspaper remarks that National Unity Day was first celebrated nationally in 2005. According to the most widely disseminated explanation, the Kremlin wanted a replacement for the country’s greatest public holiday – the obsolete November 7th Revolution Day celebration. Three years on, one can note with certainty just one thing: that there isn’t any “national unity” with regards to this particular novelty in our calendar. Without exception, public opinion polls show that the majority of Russians think of this holiday as just a plain old day off work. And the few who do make a celebration of the day have invested it with meanings that its inventors did not envisage.
The first to attempt to turn National Unity Day into “their” day were the nationalists. “For us it is above all a Russian holiday. It’s the day the Russian state was formed,” we were told by Aleksandr Belov, leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration and one of the initiators of the so-called “Russian March” which will take place this year.
The Russian Orthodox will celebrate the day for a reason of their own too. The St. George Movement intends to hold a procession of the cross in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. In Moscow, this procession will run along the Boulevard Circle.
The Communist Party is the only parliamentary party to have announced that it will not be acknowledging the day. All Communist organisations intend to ignore National Unity Day. Red Youth Vanguard leader Sergei Udaltsov has said that the holiday is “bourgeois” while CPRF Duma Deputy Anatoli Lokot has called it “artificial”.
On the other hand, the holiday fits in nicely with United Russia’s plans. This year, they [TN: may we coin the word ‘Unirusskies’ from the Russian единороссы?] have decided to seize the initiative and be one step ahead of their ideological competitors. Besides official events. they will hold celebratory demonstrations. The Molodaya Gvardiya youth organisation promises to get about 7000 members out on the streets. Their programme will include singing the national anthem, church bell ringing, and other events.
*TN: Didn’t they notice they were copy-catting the date – or is that too part of ”catching up and overtaking”?