This is an amazingly weird banner from the 2010 May Day rally in Volgograd. The lines in the middle say “Lenin will live forever like Christ the Savior, who saved mankind from its demise by creating, in 1918, the brotherly union of people…” (yes, it’s not entirely clear from this banner who saved the mankind).
May 1st starts a calendar period commonly referred to as майские праздники (May holidays). Первое мая (May 1st), also known as Первомай, used to be a one of those propaganda-driven Soviet holidays, День международной солидарности трудящихся (International Workers’ Day).
Back then the schedule was pretty set – a government-organized демонстрация (political demonstration) or, in larger cities, парад (parade) followed by застолье (a holiday meal) with a centerpiece being миска салата «Оливье» (a bowl of Olivier salad). The following day was spent at an organized маёвка (May Day outing) or, sometimes, at a mandatory субботник or воскресник, a type of volunteer neighborhood clean-up and beautification project that would take place on a Saturday or a Sunday.
Now, the days of marching through the city square carrying плакаты (banners) with лозунги (slogans) such as «Мир! Труд! Май!» (Peace! Work! May!), «Да здравствует коммунистическая партия!» (Glory to the Communist Party!) and «Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!» (Workers of the world, unite!)
So what is going on in Russia on May 1st this year?
Коммунистическа партия Российской Федерации, КПРФ for short (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) continues the long-standing tradition of первомайская демонстрация (May Day demonstration) with somewhat updated slogans:
Требуем справедливого наказания виновных в фальсификации выборов! (We demand justice for those responsible for election fraud!)
Борьбу с криминалом и коррупцией начни со своего предприятия и ведомства! (Start the fight against crime and corruption at your own company and institution!)
Along with the old standby softened for the new times:
Наша историческая цель – социализм! (Socialism is our historical goal!)
Other политические партии и движения (political parties and movements) are organizing their own первомайские акции (May Day actions) including шествия (marches) and митинги (rallies).
On the lighter side of things, маёвки (May Day outings) are also planned since May Day is not just День труда (Labor Day), but also День весны (Spring Day). So expect plenty of пикники (picnics), шашлыки (shish kebabs), концерты (concerts), танцы (dancing) and such.
In the mean time, Moscow is gearing up for очередной Парад Победы (another Victory Day Parade) with the final night-time rehearsal on May 3rd and the grand daytime dress rehearsal on May 6th. So if you are in Moscow right now, take pictures, upload them to Facebook and share with us, please!