June 12 is Russia Day. What exactly are we celebrating on that day?
Not Independence Day
Russia Day (День Росси́и) is one of the newest national public holidays in Russia. It has been celebrated since 1992. This day marks the formation of the Russian Federation (Росси́йская Федера́ция) as a sovereign (сувере́нный/незави́симый) country after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Sometimes people incorrectly call Russia Day Independence Day (День Незави́симости). But this wording is not the official term. In fact, it was not the independence (незави́симость) from the Soviet Union as such. More precisely, it was a statement that from that time, Russia could adopt its own laws (зако́ны).
The holiday first had another name – the Day of Adoption of The Declaration of State Sovereignty of The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (День приня́тия Деклара́ции о госуда́рственном суверените́те Росси́йской Сове́тской Федерати́вной Социалисти́ческой Респу́блики). Undoubtedly, this name was not the best one. Moreover, the Declaration (Деклара́ция) itself was adopted two years earlier — in 1990. However, this is the foundation on which the holiday itself is built. Therefore, I will tell you a little about the document (докуме́нт).
The Declaration of State Sovereignty of The RSFSR
The adoption of this Declaration by the First Congress of People’s Deputies (Съезд наро́дных депута́тов СССР) marked the beginning of constitutional reform (конституцио́нная рефо́рма).
The document proclaimed the supremacy of the Constitution and the laws of Russia over the legislative acts (законода́тельные а́кты) of the Soviet Union.
In addition, the country got the principle of separation of the legislative (законода́тельный), executive (исполни́тельный), and judicial (суде́бный) branches of government (прави́тельство).
Moreover, the Declaration finally made all citizens (гра́ждане), public organizations (обще́ственные организа́ции), and political parties (полити́ческие па́ртии) equal in their rights (права́).
Also, a severe change was the creation of the post of President (Президе́нт) of Russia. Boris Yeltsin (Борис Ельцин) was the first to serve this position.
Furthermore, the rights of the federal subjects of Russia (constituent entities) have expanded.
In 1994, June 12 acquired national significance.
Russia Day Celebration
Fortunately, in 2002, the holiday was officially renamed, simply, Russia Day.
Of course, the main June 12 celebrations take place in Moscow. Traditionally, the country’s authorities officially thank the outstanding people who made significant achievements. The main solemn ceremony (торже́ственная церемо́ния) takes place in the Kremlin (Кремль). The Russian President presents state awards to scientists (учёные), people’s artists (Наро́дные арти́сты Росси́йской Федера́ции), and extraordinary activists (активи́сты).
In recent years, the number of festive celebrations in the cities has constantly been growing. On this day, mass open-air concerts and children’s events are held in the central city squares. The festivity ends with gorgeous fireworks. In one of the past blogs, Josefina shared how she honored Russia Day. Although, to be honest, it is more about what to do at home after watching the fireworks.
On the other hand, not all Russians agree that June 12 should be a public holiday. Some would still prefer to live in the Soviet Union. However, more and more people have been born who know about the delights and sorrows of the USSR times only from books.
Happy Russia Day!