MOSCOW, November 4. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has laid flowers to the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky on the Red Square in the Russian capital on National Unity Day celebrated in the country on November 4.
Leaders of main traditional Russian confessions, including Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, Head of the Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church Metropolitan Korniliy, Bishop Sergey Ryakhovsky, the president of the Russian United Union of Evangelical Christians, chief of the clergy of Muslims in the North Caucasus Ismail Berdiyev, chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis Ravil Gainutdin, Russian Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar, leader of Russian Buddhist community Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheyev, Latin Rite Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Moscow Paolo Pezzi and Supreme Mufti Talgat Safa Tajuddin also participated in the annual festive ceremony.
Representatives of student construction teams and military patriotic clubs also participated in the flower-laying ceremony.
The president had brief talks with leaders of all confessions and took pictures with young people and then offered the chiefs of all confessions to take pictures with young people. After the photo session Putin asked young people about their affairs in construction and military and patriotic teams.
The National Unity Day was established in memory of Moscow’s liberation from foreign invaders in 1612. Exactly on November 4, 400 years ago militias guided by merchant Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky have stormed Kitay-Gorod district in central Moscow, liberating the city from Polish occupants. Several days later Polish troops surrendered and signed their capitulation act. This moment in the history of the Time of Troubles became a turning point that was followed by liberation of the whole country. Since then this event became a symbol of unification of Russian peoples.
The deed of Russian people was immortalized in decree of Emperor Alexander the First in 1818. The monument to Minin and Pozharsky made by sculptor Ivan Martos was unveiled on Red Square in the heart of Moscow. This was the first Russian monument to national heroes, but not a tsar or a military commander.
The memorial date is celebrated in Russia since 2005 timed with the feast of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. On December 29, 2004, the Russian president signed a federal law under which the National Unity Day was declared as a national holiday.