In Russia, National Unity Day is celebrated on November 4th. This is a date that helps increase solidarity and harmony in society. It began to be celebrated in the country in 2005.
Back in 1598, Smuta broke out in the country. There were various reasons for this: the suppression of the ruling dynasty, the failures of the Livonian War and the Oprichnina policy of Ivan the Terrible, the expansion of neighbouring states. Its determining factor was the protracted and deepest economic crisis, which caused mass hunger. Boris Godunov, the first elected tsar in our history, dealt as best he could with the growing popular discontent, but with the appearance of False Dmitry I and the death of Godunov, the protest movement took on the character of general unrest. Neighbouring Poland and Sweden begin intervention and by 1611 there was a real threat of destruction of Russian statehood. Smolensk was captured by the Poles, Novgorod – by the Swedes, and the Poles also committed outrages in Moscow, removing the government of seven boyars from power.
The invasion of interventionists caused a rise in patriotism in the country. Each class put forward its heroes; nobles and peasants, free Cossacks, merchants and townspeople stood shoulder to shoulder against common enemies. Patriarch Hermogenes played a special role in the events of the Time of Troubles. It was he who called on the people to fight against the interventionists. In March 1611, the first people’s militia was created, but the attempt to expel the Poles from Moscow failed, partly due to the lack of a unified line in the leadership of the militia.
In the autumn, the Zemstvo head of Nizhny Novgorod, Kuzma Minin, called for a fight against the invaders. The Council of the Whole Land was created, emergency taxes and fees were introduced for the equipment of the militia. The volunteer detachments were led by Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, who distinguished himself as part of the first militia.
In January 1612, Minin and Pozharsky notified the cities of their intention to begin a campaign against Moscow. For many months, the militia moved towards the goal, establishing the unification of all patriotic forces. Prince Pozharsky sent letters to the cities, summoned elected representatives from all ranks, and ensured that, if possible, “the whole land” was present in the person of his representatives. The result was the liberation of Moscow from the Poles and the coming to power of a new ruling dynasty – the Romanov dynasty.
The Interreligious Council of Russia proposed declaring November 4 National Unity Day in September 2004. The idea was supported by the Committee on Labor and Social Policy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, as well as Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’ Alexy II. The holiday should remind us of how hundreds of years ago the inhabitants of Russia overcame mutual strife, defeated a common enemy and helped establish peace.
And indeed, all classes of the country united under the banner of the liberators. The army of thousands included Russians, Mari, Chuvash, Komi and representatives of other peoples within the Russian state.