Defence of the Fatherland Day – February 23, 2023

Defense of the Fatherland Day is observed on February 23 every year. It is observed in Russia, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. It was also observed in the Ukraine before the holiday was abolished in 1992. The holiday initially marked the date during the Russian Civil War when the Red Army was first mass drafted in Petrograd and Moscow on February 17. The holiday was merged with the celebration of the establishment of the Red Army on February 18. The holiday was shifted to February 23 in 1919 because it fell on the following Sunday.

History of Defence of the Fatherland Day

The Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army was the army and airforce of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and later the U.S.S.R. Established in 1918, the army was raised by the Bolsheviks to oppose their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. The Red Army and the Soviet Navy formed the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces. The army fell along with the U.S.S.R. in 1991.

Defense of the Fatherland Day initially marked the date during the Russian Civil War when the Red Army was first mass drafted in Petrograd and Moscow on February 17. The holiday was merged with the celebration of the day the Red Army was established on February 18. It was also celebrated in Ukraine before the holiday was abolished in 1992.

The holiday was initially known as Red Army Day when the day was established in 1919. In 1923, it was officially named the Day of the Red Army and the Navy. Later in 1949, it was again renamed to Soviet Army and Navy Day. However, after the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the holiday was finally renamed to ‘Defense of the Fatherland Day’ in 2002 by current Russian President Vladimir Putin. The holiday aims to honor the people who served and currently serve the Russian Armed Forces. Interestingly enough, the holiday has become a celebration of men, acting as a foil to International Women’s Day.

Defence of the Fatherland Day timeline

February 18, 1918
Draft

The mass draft for the Red Army begins

February 19, 1918
Establishment

The Red Army is officially established.

February 23, 1919
The First Celebration

Red Army Day is celebrated for the first time.

2002
The Final Renaming

The holiday is renamed to ‘Defense of the Fatherland Day.’

Defence of the Fatherland Day FAQs

Is Russia a fatherland or motherland?

Russia is referred to as ‘motherland.’

Is America a fatherland or motherland?

America is usually referred to as ‘homeland.’

How many people live in Russia?

Russia is home to around 145 million people.

How to Observe Defence of the Fatherland Day

  1. Learn about the Russian Revolution

    The Russian Revolution was a turning point in modern history. Spend the day learning about it.

  2. Watch a documentary

    There are several documentaries about the Bolshevik Revolution. Watch one if it catches your fancy.

  3. Read up on post-U.S.S.R. polity

    The fall of the U.S.S.R. played a massive role in shaping the current global polity. Read up and take the opportunity to learn how it affected the world.

5 Interesting Facts About Russia

  1. The Gregorian calendar

    Russia only switched to the Gregorian calendar in February 1918.

  2. The first human in space

    The first human to reach space was the Russian Yuri Gagarin.

  3. Trees

    Russia is home to about one-fifth of the world’s trees.

  4. Languages

    There are over 30 officially recognized languages in Russia.

  5. The most polluted spot

    Lake Karachay has been described as the most polluted spot on the planet.

Why Defence of the Fatherland Day is Important

  1. An important moment in history

    Defense of the Fatherland Day marks an important part in Russian history. We think it’s important that everyone knows their history.

  2. It encapsulates the aspirations of a people

    In 1918, the Russian people were longing to be freed from the injustice they faced at the hands of the aristocracy. Defense of the Fatherland Day honors that aspiration.

  3. An opportunity to learn about the Russian Revolution

    The Russian Revolution was a turning point in modern history. The day is a perfect opportunity to learn about it.

Defence of the Fatherland Day dates

YearDateDay
2023February 23Thursday
2024February 23Friday
2025February 23Sunday
2026February 23Monday
2027February 23Tuesday

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