Putin Restores Soviet-Era Labor Day Celebrations on Red Square

So what?  Is a celebration like any parade around the world.

By Ilya Khrennikov May 1, 2014 10:18 AM CT

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated May 1 by “restoring traditions,” as he said, from the Soviet era: a parade of trade unions and medals for “heroes of labor” awarded in the Kremlin.

In the first Labor Day march across Red Square since the Soviet Union collapsed, workers carried banners saying “I’m proud of my country,” “In Putin we trust,” and “We’re going to vacation in Crimea,” under the Kremlin walls.

The celebration drew about 100,000 people to the center of Moscow, Mikhail Shmakov, head of the Independent Labor Unions Federation, told reporters at the Kremlin.

Putin has sought to identify his 14-year rule with the resurgence of Russia as a world power. Even with sanctions from the U.S. and EU over Russia’s actions in Ukraine threatening the economy, much of the population sees Putin’s defiance as a sign of strength, reinforcing his image as the leader who restored order after the post-Communism chaos of the 1990s.

“Russians are not yet feeling the impact of the slowing economy,” Chris Weafer, a partner at Moscow-based Macro Advisory, said in e-mailed comments. “As far as most are concerned, the country is resurgent and has just won a major victory in Crimea. From their viewpoint, ‘the sun is shining, the oil price is high and Crimea has been recovered. Of course life is wonderful.’”





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