Has Unity Day united Russians?
Russia is celebrating National Unity Day with rallies planned across the country. The holiday was banned during the communist era, but reinstated in 2005 by President Putin.
In 1612, Polish-Lithuanian occupation forces were driven from Moscow. It marked the end of what is known as the Time of Troubles.
It was a period of Russian history when there was no government. Stability only came after the fighting that led to the installation of the Romanovs.
From 1612 until 1917 the Day of Unity was widely celebrated in October.
"The 90s in many ways remind us of those dark times back in 1612. The government was split and the country was a wreck. So this helps us to remember about the great mission people took upon themselves to overcome troubled times," says historian Nikolay Sakharov.
Russia did get out of the troubled times of the 1990s.
But people are still having trouble getting used to the new "old" holiday, though there are a range of other ideas and events that are naturally uniting Russians, not just in Russia, but around the world.
Thus, the Russian Orthodox Church recently re-unified with its co-confessionals abroad after decades apart.
There's also sport - Russians across the globe watched and waited to see if Sochi would win the 2014 bid. And when it did, it was clear the Olympics would continue to unite Russians.
Still, unity is not something that can be ordered by decree. Time will have to pass for the holiday to find its place not only in the official calendar, but in the hearts of Russians - who do hope that hard times are over. ( RT )