Andrey Petrov on Vesti.FM: International Women’s Day unites all post-Soviet space

Andrey Petrov on Vesti.FM: International Women’s Day unites all post-Soviet space

International Women's Day is a unique holiday, a senior analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza, Andrey Petrov, said in the  National Question program on Vesti.FM, talking about the traditions of celebrating March 8 in the post-Soviet space.

“Following the collapse of the USSR, the holiday was canceled in a number of republics as too Soviet and ideological, but it did not disappear and regained the state status in the 2000s. Therefore, March 8 is one of those dates that unite all the post-Soviet space today, women still unite us all, despite different political courses, ” the expert noted.

In particular, the expert spoke about the traditions of celebrating March 8 in the Caucasus and Caspian countries. “Among the countries that abandoned March 8 as early as in 1991 were Georgia and Armenia - the new authorities considered the holiday a legacy of the communist regime. Then it was renamed and its date was moved: in Georgia, Mother’s Day was celebrated on March 3, and in Armenia, April 7, the Day of the Annunciation became the Day of Motherhood and Beauty. In both countries the holiday was not celebrated for 10 years, ”Andrey Petrov recalled.

“However, at the beginning of the 2000s, both countries, under pressure from the public, which did not stop celebrating March 8, returned International Women's Day to the calendars of the public holidays and days off. In particular, in Georgia, this happened at the initiative of Prime Minister Nino Burjanadze. Interestingly, no one canceled new women's holidays, and as a result, the women's day is celebrated in Armenia, and there is also the women's month from March 8 to April 7, ” he said.

“Azerbaijan had a different approach to this holiday. The new republic was recognized as the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1918-1920, which did much to expand the rights and freedoms of women - this was the first state in the Muslim world to grant women the right to vote. Therefore, the question of the fate of International Women's Day was not even raised, it turned out to be filled with national meanings, and March 8 naturally passed from the Soviet public holidays to Azerbaijani ones, ”the expert pointed out.

“As a result, on the whole Caucasus, on March 8, women are greeted not only by men who love and respect them but also at the highest state level of presidents and prime ministers. In Azerbaijan, traditionally, honorary titles are awarded to the best teachers, doctors and cultural figures, in Georgia, women soldiers are awarded individual congratulations, and in Armenia, the new Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reads live in Facebook verses for all Armenian women, ”Andrey Petrov said.

Caucasus neighbors across the Caspian - Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan - are also celebrating March 8. “In Kazakhstan, the holiday has been preserved since Soviet times, on this day Nursultan Nazarbayev traditionally holds meetings with Kazakhstani women, which is informal in nature - the president jokes a lot and tells anecdotes. In Turkmenistan, the International Women's Day was canceled by Niyazov in 2001, again, as the Soviet legacy (it was combined with Novruz), but the holiday was returned in 2008 by Berdymukhamedov. There is a Turkmen tradition - every woman in the country receives a small cash gift from the president on this day, ” the senior analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza said.

“In general, all countries of the former Soviet Union are still celebrating March 8 as a public holiday and a day off, with the exception of Lithuania and Estonia, but even there the holiday is celebrated informally,” he concluded.

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