Saturday, June 17, 2023

Putin Redefining Holidays of Non-Russians to Gut Them of Traditional Meanings, Sidorov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 17 – Many commentators have suggested that Vladimir Putin wants to reduce ethnicity to something about holidays to ensure that it will not have a political role in the future of Russia. But Kharun Sidorov says that the Kremlin leader is going further and seeking to gut those holidays of traditional meanings and reduce them to pale variants of Russian ones.

            The homogenization of celebrations started with all-Russian holidays like the Day of Russia, the Prague-based commentator says. Non-Russians were expected, even ordered, to keep their celebrations in line with those in Moscow. But then, homogenization has spread to national holidays which do not have a Russian equivalent (

            One of those holidays is Sabantui, a celebration of spring among Turkic and Muslim peoples. Russians don’t have an exact equivalent, but the Russian government is insisting that any celebrations that do occur conform to Russian standards, including even the singing of anti-Turkic or anti-Muslim songs.

            Sidorov suggests that Sabantui should be renamed Zabantui to reflect the way in which Putin’s war in Ukraine has become a war on the non-Russians and their traditions and that if this policy continues, then one will have to begin to speak of “naZionalnye praZdniki,” in which the Z of Putin’s invasion will replace the letters in the words for “national holidays” more generally.

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