June 12 arrives, the “Day of Russia”: it is also celebrated in Kherson and Mariupol

from Marco Imarisio

In the territories of the Russian-occupied Ukraine, celebrating “June 2 in Moscow” has a strong symbolic value. The festival, established by Boris Yeltsin, has become increasingly important in recent years

Luckily there will be no other national holidays until next New Year. Whenever an anniversary approaches, rumors spread quickly about a possible “victorious” announcement by the Kremlin, according to a custom that was dear to the old leaders of the USSR but that Vladimir Putin has repeatedly shown that he does not love.

Anyway, now it’s the turn of June 12th, Den Rossii, or the Day of Russia. In chronological order, the most recent of the celebrations during which the whole country stops. Thirty years ago, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, at the time when the Soviet Union was in the process of disintegrating, Boris Yeltsin, president of the RFSR, or of the Socialist Republic of Russia, the largest of the fifteen states that made up the USSR, introduced this holiday to celebrate the day of June 12, 1990, when it was signed the declaration of state sovereignty, with which priority was given to internal Russian laws over the law that governed the entire USSR. These were decisions, both the treaty and its celebration, aimed at emphasizing its independence from an entity that is now winding down. For Yeltsin, it was a way to compete with Mikhail Gorbachev, who was instead the secretary of the old PCUS, and therefore leader of the entire USSR.

History then said that the white bear emerged from the duel as the winner over the inventor of Glasnost, overwhelmed by the democratization process of the USSR which he had set in motion without foreseeing the consequences that would ensue. Over the years, Russian June 12 has become like our just ended June 2and in 2002 the name of the party was changed by Putin, leaving aside the Declaration of Sovereignty and opting for a simpler “Day of Russia”, in which national pride and patriotism are celebrated, which is certainly not lacking in Moscow and its surroundings.

Precisely for this reason, the intention declared several times by the current governors of the militarily occupied areas of Ukraine, in Kherson and Mariupol just to mention names, represents a gesture with a strong symbolic value. Almost a declaration of intent. Because if that of 9 May, when the victory in the Great Patriotic War against Hitler is remembered, is a transnational celebration, which concerns all the countries of the eastern bloc that fought against Nazism, the real one, June 12, on the other hand, is a national holiday. It matters little that there is no military parade, but only fireworks and a twenty-four hour vacation. Where it is celebrated, it is no longer Ukraine. It’s Russia.

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