Symbols of identity: commemorative holidays in post-soviet Russia
MetadataShow full item record
Holidays as a collective form of activity at all times is a reflection of the profound changing in society’s values. The reducing need for a holiday, loss of interest in it indicates that values, represented in celebrations, lose their meaning. In turn, establishment of a new holiday or restoration of practices of events celebrated earlier imply a change of value priorities in the society. The Russian case of transformation of public holidays is in some way unique. The regime change in early 1990s did not lead to abolition of Soviet holidays, but demanded from the new government efforts to adapt to new realities. This research shows the short history of introduction or evolution of three Russian commemorative holidays: Day of National Unity, Day of Russia, and Victory Day. All of them are intended to construct new Russian national identity, different from the old Soviet one. The analysis of discourse around these holidays suggests that due to the short history of the new state, political forces do not have clear understanding of essence of holidays and of ideas how they have to be celebrated. Without the agreement among political elite, it is difficult to construct new Russian national identity among the population. Currently, opinion polls show that two of studied holidays – Day of National Unity and Day of Russia – have not yet found their place in people’s minds. However, Victory Day remains the main uniting holiday for all Russian citizens, although its history, connected with crimes of Stalinism, is sometimes regarded ambiguously.