Is Russia Day a Public Holiday?
Russia Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
What Do People Do?
Russia Day is an occasion for many Russians to demonstrate national pride. Some people celebrate Russia's economic and social achievements and pay tribute to famous Russians on June 12. People may attend concerts and fireworks that take place in many cities throughout the country. Prominent Russian writers, scientists and humanitarian workers receive a National Award from the Russian president on this day. Yet many other people see Russia Day as nothing more than a day off.
Many Russians refused to celebrate this holiday when it was introduced in 1994. For them it was the day when their leaders agreed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The demise of the Soviet Union led to unemployment and poverty of many Russians. People who oppose celebrating June 12 spend time in their countryside houses (dachas) or do other outdoor activities.
Russia Day is a national holiday in the Russian Federation. Most banks, public offices and schools are closed on June 12. If the day falls on a weekend, the public holiday shifts to the following Monday. Public transport schedules may vary depending on events taking place in each city on June 12.Â
On June 12, 1990 Soviet leaders signed a declaration of Russiaâs state sovereignty. That document symbolized the beginning of democratic reforms in Russia. It also marked one of the first steps to the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. June 12 became a public holiday in 1994, but many people either did not understand its meaning or refused to celebrate it.
To promote June 12 as a patriotic holiday, Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin suggested renaming it to Russia Day in 1997 (the holiday's original name was the Day of Signing the Declaration of State Sovereignty). The renaming took place in 2002 when the Russian Parliament adopted a new version of Russia's Labor Code.
The Russian flag and a two-headed eagle, the state symbols of the Russian Federation, are the most common symbols of Russia Day.