Russia celebrates Defender of the Fatherland Day
Today Russia celebrates February 23rd – Defender of the Fatherland Day. This day is also a holiday in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and in some other CIS countries.
The history of the holiday begins in 1918 with the Red Army. Since 1946, on the orders of Joseph Stalin, February 23rd became the Day of the Soviet Army and Navy.
The decision on the establishment of a holiday with a new name on February 23rd in Russia was taken in 1995. Officially, it looked like this: the Day of the Victory of the Red Army over the Kaiser's troops in 1918 was the Day of Defender of the Fatherland. The modern Defender's Day appeared in 2002. This day became a day off, and became not only the professional holiday of those who have a direct connection to the army, but also of all those who defend, defended or only will defend the country.
At a gala evening dedicated to the Day of Defender of the Fatherland, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated servicemen and civilian personnel of the Armed Forces and veterans on the upcoming holiday.
"On this day we honor those who have chosen the difficult and demanding path of the military, who protect the peaceful life of our citizens, the security of our country. And of course, this holiday symbolizes the glorious centuries-old history of the Russian army. At all times, it has served as a solid stronghold of the state, a guarantor of the stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, symbolized its national dignity and power," the president said.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu expressed his congratulations to military personnel and veterans. "On this day we honor those who carry out military service, guarantee the sovereignty and security of the country, proudly remember our compatriots, who fearlessly opposed any encroachment on the independence of their country. Great Patriotic War veterans deserve special gratitude, they freed the world from the Nazi invaders. With their courage, dedication and unshakable strength of spirit they showed us an example of true patriotism and inspired new achievements in the name of the Motherland," he said, also wishing military personnel and their families "good health, optimism, courage and further successes in serving the Motherland."
Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko congratulated Russians on the Day of Defender of the Fatherland. "We are proud of all the defenders of our native land, proud of the glorious traditions of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. Military labor has been and remains the guarantor of the security and stable development of the country and the peaceful life of our citizens," she said, wishing everyone good health, peace, new successes and achievements for the benefit of the Fatherland.
According to State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, this holiday is not a 'men's day', since Russian women protect the country alongside men. "In fairness, this is our common holiday – both for men and women. We all protect our homeland – men and women, youth and veterans, and will not allow anyone to hurt our Russia. Congratulations!" he said.
Celebrations of the Day of Defender of the Fatherland will be held in all military units of the Russian Armed Forces, including those located abroad. This year the holiday will be celebrated at sea by the crews of more than 30 ships of the Russian Navy. Russian seamen continuously provide the naval presence of the Russian Federation in the World Ocean, solve problems on combating piracy and protect the interests of the country at the sea borders.