On 4th November Russia Celebrates Her Unity in Diversity
Famous writer explains what national unity means to a country that stretches from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean and from the Polar Circle to subtropics, and embraces dozens of nationalities and four religions.
This article originally appeared at Zavtra. Translated bu Svetlana Kyrzhaly and Rhod Mackenzie.
On the day of our unity, or brotherhood, as our unique community we gather on squares, streets, in homes to embrace, to see each other's eyes, and to be happy that we are together. The Russian autumn - that wonderful, marvelous time! Sometimes the last golden leaves fly, sometimes the autumn rain comes, or frost and the bluish ice begins to crunch under our feet. Or the warm weather comes back again, as if willows come out. And on these days the columns are moving through our cities - under red flags, under the imperial flags with golden eagles, columns under the Russian tricolor, green flags, Andreev flags and the flags of Donetsk ...
We are all different. But the difference is just imaginary. These red columns, the Communists. But they are not just communists, they also were Russians. And there the monarchists go, Orthodox people with gonfalons. Yes, they are Orthodox, they are monarchists, but also they are Russians - they are the children of today's Russia. These are column of Muslims. There are columns of trade unions. This is amazing time, an amazing celebration. We are a united Russia.
The long history of Russia is cracked. It consists of periods, people warring with each other. There are a lot of long-standing grudges, feuds, unhealed scars and wounds. But this is surmountable. At our today's festivities, we don’t just walk, don’t just breathe a marvelous autumn air. We overcome wrangles, faults, we are again united in a delightful light guide of Russian history, through which energy moves from ancient times. And today, it nourishes and nurtures the crystal of the new Russian state.
Our quantity is our jewel. This is the opportunity to witness the beam, a delightful upward flowing light of every nation, every language, every locality. How can you imagine the Caucasus without Chechnya? Chechnya is now guarding the southern borders of Russia and menacingly looks into the distance, where Syrian war is raging, from which the mysterious and gloomy ISIS threaten us with disaster.
How can you imagine Russia without the Yakuts that are now involved in the construction of a new Northern Russian civilization, providing the operation of radars stations , plants for the building and repair of the icebreakers in the North and are major part of the universal Northern Sea Route? And the Nanai, who live at the mouth of the Amur? It would seem that this is a tiny province, but our state is impossible without it, the power is unthinkable. Because every, even the smallest province is part of the forming of the state. And the body of the Russian state that we are building with such works and zeal is impossible without the effort of a every tiny province that holds the heavens over its meadows, or over its snow or over its lakes.
These are difficult times - the crisis, its burdens. Plants are closed, people lose their jobs, welfare is reduced. It's very hard. And what other kind of threat! The smell of war is now here, now there. Nerves are strained. We are waiting for all sorts of misfortunes. At this difficult time our unity, our brotherhood is particularly precious. Russia is a country that is united into an inseparable community in the hours of great adversity and labour troubles, in the hours of coming problems. And today, we are not frightened by the difficulties and misfortunes, we are united in the state national monolith. Our unity is not arithmetical. We are not a simple sum of numbers. We are combined in a complex community.
The basis of this community is justice. As social justice, as the divine one. We are united only when all are equal before the law, written and unwritten, the moral law, equal before the divine law. Our justice is the value that we cultivate, cherished in ourselves for thousands of years. It is in our folk tales, shines in the teachings of the great prophets and philosophers. It was ensured by our great heroes, who died on the battlefields.
Most recently a surprising procession occurred in Moscow and other cities – 'The Immortal Regiment'. Old people and children, left and right walked in the columns. People, who in other times and other spaces could not to give their hands to each other, were united and carried pictures of their ancestors, relatives and loved ones who fought and died in the Great Patriotic War. This victory march was the Easter procession, in which Russia is resurrected from the dead each time, rises from the dark depths of our historic falls.
Today we continue this march. Flags tremble above us, and Our Lady of Kazan, who saved Russia during the Time of Troubles, sparkles among these flags. Russia is a country of victory. Russia is invincible and eternal. Our people have four faiths, four confessions. The most important of them is a sublime belief in the powers of heaven, the divine truth. Is this true written in the Orthodox New Testament, the Koran, the Bible, or in the Old Testament - it doesn’t matter. We believe in the triumph of the divine Providence, we believe in the righteousness and goodness.
The second belief is in our divine nature, in our rivers, the earth, the winter snow, in the wind and the flowering fields, in our starry sky that covers us all with a uniform sparkling carpet - from the Far East to the Baltic Sea.
The third belief is in our culture, in literature, in our marvelous literature, which always, wherever a word was born - in Russia, in Chechnya, Tatarstan or in distant Yakut settlements - everywhere this word tells us the highest sense, inspires us, makes us more noble, honest and clean.
And the last one is the belief in our state. The state for us is the highest value. If there is a state, albeit strict, sometimes harsh, then we are protected, then there is a collective will that unites us into a single unit, sends us to the historical creativity. The state falls – the darkness falls. And we, the Russians, have tasted the terrible bitterness of the decaying state several times. And now we keep this highest value as the apple of the eye.
During the celebrations, when we walk through the streets in different columns in different directions, let’s meet somewhere, hug, smile, say beautiful words to each other and carry these words to our labour, the ancient Russian life.
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