Russia marks little-known holiday: End of seventeenth-century Polish occupation





Russia is celebrating a new national holiday - but few people know why. The Day of People's Unity was created last year after the parliament scrapped the 7 November public holiday marking the Bolshevik uprising in 1917.

The new 4 November holiday marks the end of Polish occupation almost four centuries ago, and the Kremlin hopes that it will help boost patriotism. Correspondents say polls show only 8% could name the new holiday, while over 60% opposed dropping Revolution Day.

The BBC's Steve Rosenberg, in Moscow, says the Soviet-named anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution was celebrated for more than 80 years - albeit renamed as the Day of Reconciliation and Accord after the collapse of communism.

He says that while 7 November will now be a normal working day, on 4 November Russians are marking the 393rd anniversary of the end of Polish intervention - brought about by the defeat of Polish armies by a Russian prince and his troops.

The idea is that it was this victory which paved the way for the modern Russian state.

Our correspondent says the historical significance is lost on most Russians.


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