Russia celebrates Reunification Day, exactly one year since Moscow “officially” annexed the occupied Ukrainian territories. President Vladimir Putin even signed a decree making this day an annual public holiday.
Thousands of young people gathered in Red Square on Friday to attend a concert. There are long queues in front of the entrance, mostly young people waiting to pass through the control gates. A selection of Russian artists will perform at 6:30pm local time in honor of Reunification Day.
The term “reunification” refers to areas in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhie and Kherson regions, none of which the Russian army has fully controlled after more than a year and a half of fighting. In Ukraine and the West they call it outright annexation.
It is estimated that about 90 percent of those interested in the party are in their teens or 20s. The pro-Kremlin group Mega Volunteer Moscow has therefore set an age limit for visitors: “Preferably under 35, but it is also possible to be older.”
Igor, an eighteen-year-old student, wearing round glasses and straight hair tied into a ponytail, stands with a group of friends slightly apart in front of the fence of the Alexander Garden, facing the Kremlin walls. “I’m here to support my country,” says Igor firmly.
According to the independent Russian news site Meduza, the authorities, as often happens in Russia, gathered students and civil servants, among others, for the ceremony in Red Square. The first category gets credits for attending, the second simply has to do so, according to Meduza.
But he claims that this does not apply to Igor. “I got out of myself. People are not sent, at most they are asked to leave.”
Maximum 600 rubles
According to the Telegram channel “We will explain”, the additions presented last year at the same event in honor of the Ukrainian lands raised 1,500 rubles (about 15 euros), and this time they were left with less than half: a maximum of 600 rubles. rubles.
On Manegeplein, near the statue of the famous Marshal Zhukov on horseback, there is a group of slightly older men. They carry an orange-black flag, the colors of victory over Nazi Germany, with Putin’s picture on it. “For the sake of the country, for the sake of sovereignty, for the sake of the president!” Written on the flag.
One of the men is Nikita (36). “I support the course of the Supreme Commander of the Russian Army (Putin, ed.),” he officially explains his presence at the upcoming event. “The United States and NATO should no longer interfere in the affairs of the former Soviet Union. This must be restored by holding referendums in all former republics.”
His friends have now gathered around their flag to record a video and express themselves in a less diplomatic way. When the camera is turned on, they shout in unison: “USA and NATO, get the hell out of here!”
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