On the occasion of the national holiday, Day of Russia, the local authorities in Novosibirsk region decided to organize a children’s spear running.
It was to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Victory over Nazism and re-enact episodes from the medieval military history of Russia.
During the celebration local kids were expected to re-enact a number of battles and other events. Some participants, however, took it a step further. Margarita Loginova, a journalist of news portal tajga.info, noticed that there was an effigy representing a … ‘hanged sodomite’.
Russian state propaganda says the presence of sexual minorities is a specific feature of ‘decaying Europe’. Two years ago a law imposing penalties for the promotion of homosexuality among minors was introduced. It is highly likely that the organizers decided to add this theme of ‘victory’ over the ‘rotten West’ to the events commemorating the Second World War, Alexander Nevsky and liberation from the Tartar Mongol yoke.
Another example of misunderstanding of what is actually celebrated was a parade in the town of Ramenskoye near Moscow. Pupils from local schools were ordered to show up at the event and … drag mock ‘Nazi prisoners’ trussed up with ropes along the streets.
The town authorities put down their controversial initiative to the desire to jointly celebrate Victory Day and Russia Day.
As the holiday itself can trigger paradoxes, bizarre ‘historical re-enactions’ arise. Russia Day was established as a national holiday in 1992. In spite of their mixed feelings on the event, the top officials have no intention to do away with it. Introduced by Boris Yeltsin, it commemorates the adoption of the Constitution of the Russian Federal Socialist Republic, a stage in the dissolution of the USSR – event, which Vladimir Putin called ‘the greatest geopolitic catastrophe of the XX century’.
For some unknown reason, the holiday has survived since the 90s. But local authorities’ bewilderment has no bounds: it is not clear enough what exactly should be marked… Of course, the collapse of the USSR is not a subject of rejoicing, but since the holiday exists, something should be done. The result is a show of crazy patriotic quilt of everything what is sacred for present-day Russia, i.e. first and foremost the victory in 1945, but also the explosive mixture of propaganda-rimmed historical episodes.