Sometimes incorrectly referred to as Independence Day, the full name for Russia Day was originally the Day of Adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of RSFSR. Held every 12 June, this national holiday records the birth of the Russian Federation and the end of the USSR. It became Russia Day in 1998 following a presidential decree. It’s the day when the Russian president bestows awards on writers, scientists, humanitarian workers and others who excel in their field, the equivalent to the British honours list.
On 12 June, schools and public offices are closed – if it falls on a weekend, the holiday is shifted to the following Monday. Pageantry and parades mark the occasion in many cities, none more so than in Moscow. If you’re in the Russian capital on the day, expect to see lots of red, white and blue, the colours of the Russian Federation flag. There are parties, concerts and firework displays. Some people associate the holiday with the unemployment and resultant poverty which were unfortunate side effects of such a massive political upheaval. However, as time passes, more and more of the population feel like Russia Day is and should be a celebration, which is how you’ll experience it.