Since 1990, Russia has been celebrating its independence day on June 12. However, unlike most countries Russia’s Independence Day doesn’t observe the end of colonial rule or imperialism; instead, it observes the creation of the Russian Federation after the dissolution Soviet Union which comprised 15 sub-national republics.
On June 12, 1990, Russia formally declared its secession from the Soviet Union; the Russian Congress of People’s Deputies, which was then headed by Boris Yeltsin, adopted the Declaration of the State Sovereignty, giving birth to the Russian Federation as an independent state. This assembly also declared its autonomous power over matters within the borders of the Russian Federation to take precedence over Soviet rule.
Consequently, a dual political system was born within Russia, which changed the political landscape of the nation. However, on the first anniversary of the Russian declaration of sovereignty, Boris Yeltsin was elected as the first democratically elected president of the Russian Federation.
The country adopted its new constitution, national flag, and anthem to reflect the new political dynamics. Its new name-the Russian Federation was adopted on December 25, 1991, and June 12, 1992, was proclaimed as the national holiday.
Although Russia did not achieve independence in the typical sense of the word, Independence Day is a reminder of the period of uncertainty, and the progression of the Russian people towards to a more open society. The celebrations that mark this day are full of festivities and events highlighting the rich heritage and culture.
Since 2003, the country has been organizing a grand military parade that recaptures the Soviet military parade of the Revolution Day. While bands play songs that have been a vital aspect of the Russian legacy including those from the Soviet era, cavalrymen are seen wearing traditional uniforms prior to Russian Revolution. Moreover, in some parts of the country people wear their traditional dresses, and indulge in their traditional dance and music.
Russia has a long and dynamic history beginning with the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples. The Early phase of its history is marked by the coming of Viking Rurik of Jutland, who came to Russia in 862 and defeated Slavs at Novgorod, thus founding the first dynasty in Russia. The next important phase is the Russian Revolution, which was triggered by a series of issues ranging from economic meltdown to growing discontent with an autocratic government.
In 1917 Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne, and a provisional government was set up under Alexander Kerensky. Kerensky lost to the radicals or Bolsheviks, and Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, popularly known as Lenin and Leon Trotsky, overthrew the Kerensky government in November 1917. They vested the power in a Council of People’s Commissars, with Lenin as its premier. Between 1922 and 1991, the history of Russia is manifested in the history of the Soviet Union, which functioned as a single-party state under a communist party.
By the late 1980s, the political, social, and economic tensions were rising in the Soviet Union, and the reforms-Perestroika and Glasnost-introduced by Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, brought the final blow to the already scrambling structure of the Soviet Union, as the two reforms suddenly unleashed a wave of independence movements within the union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the official history of the Russian Federation began.
Located in Northern Eurasia, Russia or the Federation is a federal semi-presidential republic. From northwest to the southeast it is bounded by Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It has an area of 6.5 million square miles and houses a population of 142.9 million people and over 100 ethnic groups. Russian is the official language of the country.