Home » Culture and History

Men Honored as Defenders of the Fatherland

23. February 2011 by Michelle 0 Comments

The Russian holiday known as Defenders of the Fatherland Day puts military soldiers and veterans at the center of celebrations on February 23rd. The occasion was originally called Red Army Day in 1922, and then Soviet Army and Navy Day from 1949 to 1993. It was renamed Defenders of the Fatherland Day in 1994 and has been a public holiday since 2002.


Special ceremonies are being held in honor of the brave men who devoted their lives to military service over the years. Some military enthusiasts stage reenactments of famous battles. In Kalynivka, Ukraine over the weekend, 500 people gathered to watch one, despite the snow and frigid temperatures. Tanks, weapons, and costumes were borrowed from a local film studio.


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin Wall, along with Prime Minister Vladmir Putin, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, and World War II veterans. "Congratulations to all the defenders of our country. Russia needs peace, so we must be strong," the President posted on Twitter.


Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych also congratulated veterans and servicemen, saying, "Today we are honored to congratulate all those who in time of peace devoted their life to hard military service, and now continue an honorable job of their predecessors, providing a military power and defense of the Ukrainian state and protecting the integrity of its borders."


However, military men aren't the only ones receiving special attention today. Typically all men receive small gifts and appreciation from the Russian women in their lives, whether they be wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, or neighbors.