Unity Day (Russia)
Unity Day, Day of People’s Unity or National Unity Day was celebrated in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 until 1917 and in Russia from 2005. Held on November 4 (October 22, Old Style
Old Style and New Style dates
Old Style and New Style are used in English language historical studies either to indicate that the start of the Julian year has been adjusted to start on 1 January even though documents written at the time use a different start of year ; or to indicate that a date conforms to the Julian...

), it commemorates the popular uprising which expelled the Polish-Lithuanian
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

 occupation force from Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 in November 1612, and more generally the end of the Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

 and foreign intervention in Russia in the Polish-Muscovite War (1605–1618)
Polish-Muscovite War (1605–1618)
The Polish–Muscovite War took place in the early 17th century as a sequence of military conflicts and eastward invasions carried out by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, or the private armies and mercenaries led by the magnates , when the Russian Tsardom was torn into a series of civil wars, the...

. Its name alludes to the idea that all the classes of Russian society willingly united to preserve Russian statehood when its demise seemed inevitable even though there was neither Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 nor Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 to guide them. In 1613 tsar Mikhail Romanov instituted a holiday named Day of Moscow’s Liberation from Polish Invaders. The holiday, held in October, was abandoned in 1917. November 4 is also the feast day for Our Lady of Kazan
Our Lady of Kazan
Our Lady of Kazan, also called Theotokos of Kazan , was a holy icon of the highest stature within the Russian Orthodox Church, representing the Virgin Mary as the protector and patroness of the city of Kazan. Copies of the image are also venerated in the Catholic Church...

, the holy icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 which the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 probably venerates most.


According to a recent poll (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 Nov. 7 holiday in the 1990s. Only 4 percent knew that the holiday commemorates the liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders, down from 5 percent in 2005.


President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 reestablished the holiday in order to replace the commemoration of the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, known as The Day of Great October Socialist Revolution during Soviet period and as The Day of Accord and Conciliation in post-Soviet times, which formally took place on November 7. His decision angered some sections of the public, particularly the Communist Party, who pressed on with celebrations on Nov. 7. Putin's predecessor, Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 took a limited action of changing the name of the holiday; by completely removing it, Putin has sparked a controversy that continues today.

There have been concerns about the manifestations of ultranationalism during the celebrations of the National Unity Day. In November 2005 and 2006, rallies were held in Moscow at which demonstrators shouted "Russia for Russians
Russia for Russians
Russia for Russians is a political slogan and nationalist doctrine, encapsulating the range of ideas from bestowing the ethnic Russians with exclusive rights in the Russian state to expelling all non-Russians from the country. Originated in the Russian Empire in the latter half of the 19th...

!", made neo-Nazi salutes, and held placards with swastikas, anti-semitic and anti-immigration slogans. While President Putin and the former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, have condemned such slogans and sentiments, xenophobic rhetoric is increasingly being adopted and manipulated by some politicians and officials.

See also

  • Public holidays in Russia
    Public holidays in Russia
    The following is the list of official public holidays recognized by the Government of Russia. On these days, government offices, embassies and some shops, are closed. If the date of observance falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be a day off in lieu of the holiday.-New Year...

  • 1612
    1612 (film)
    1612 is a 2007 Russian historical fantasy film about the Time of Troubles and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth–Muscovite War . It was directed by Vladimir Khotinenko and produced by Nikita Mikhalkov...

    , a historical fantasy movie
  • Unity Day
    Unity Day
    Unity Day is an annual celebration held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, usually along the Ben Franklin Parkway. The event promotes unity among family as well as peace among people of all walks of life. Unity Day events and activities focus on family values and multiculturalism...

    in other countries
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