Glavarchiv about Constitution Day celebration at different times

December 16, 2021

December 12 is a public holiday when Russia celebrates its Constitution Day, the day of the country’s supreme law. It was on this day 28 years ago — in 1993 — that the current Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted. Documents on how the day of the country’s supreme law was celebrated are kept in the Moscow Glavarchiv.

Several constitutions were adopted throughout the country's history. The first Constitution of the RSFSR was approved on July 10, 1918 at the 5th All-Russian Congress of Soviets. At that time, the document proclaimed the dictatorship of the proletariat and flouted the electoral rights of the clergy and offspring of the “exploiting classes”.

The next Constitution, the all-Union Constitution, appeared in 1923. A year before its adoption, the Soviet Union was established. The final version of the document was approved at the 2nd All-Union Congress of Soviets in 1924. Constitution Day was announced the same year to be celebrated on the first weekend of July.

Celebration of the supreme law third anniversary in 1926 was held along with a rally and a training battle of the Red Army, and ended with sports events and a radio concert. The main Moscow venue of the holiday was the Oktyabrskoye Polye. Festive events were also held in the city parks — Izmailovo, the Aquarium garden, Sokolniki, on Vorobyovy Gory and the territory of the former All-Russian Agricultural and Handicraft Industrial Exhibition that was located between the Krymsky Bridge and the Neskuchny Garden.

In 1929, Constitution Day was celebrated in the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Recreation (TsPKiO). As before, all the celebrations were arranged as a rally and folk festival. And on top of that, the entire park was a venue of attractions and sports games. Here, students of the State Central Institute of Physical Culture gave lessons in volleyball and basketball — these games were little known to Muscovites at that time. Trucks with giant carnival figures could be seen in park alleys, and a Moscow column of motor boats — participants of the All-Union expedition of motor boats and gliders — floated next to the Krymsky Bridge.

The significant date was not celebrated in 1930 – 1932, but on this day Soviet newspapers published articles about the economic and social successes of the entire Union and showed historical documents about establishing of the USSR and the Constitution approval.

The celebration of Constitution Day was resumed in 1933, when in view of the first five-year plan implementation it was announced that "the foundation of socialism in the USSR was constructed." Since the very morning of July 6, professional and avocational choirs, orchestras and dance ensembles of all Union and Autonomous republics were performing on stages of the Maxim Gorky Park of Culture and Recreation, later a rally was held, and the festivities ended with fireworks. In addition to the Central Park, celebrations were held in other parks of the capital: Izmailovsky, Sokolnichesky, Krasnopresnensky.

In 1935, carnival was added to all the festive events. This was the name of a popular mass holiday held in Gorky Park. People who attended it were both spectators and participants.

120 thousand people gathered for the Moscow Carnival. Fanfare announced the beginning of the holiday, 45 orchestras played in all parts of the park, representatives of the Union republics in national clothes, friends of the USSR from different countries, employees of the capital's enterprises in themed costumes paraded along the valleys. An installation was arranged in the park: lanterns were replaced by winking moon-shaped faces illuminated from the inside, huge grasshoppers, butterflies, dragonflies were hiding in bushes, bats and owls with glowing eyes were nested on trees; painted little houses, fairy-tale witch's huts, caves and grottoes were scattered all over the territory. The island of Golitsynsky Pond was turned into a stage: a scientist cat walked along a large chain here, an orchestra of 33 heroes played and a chorus of mermaids sang.

The first Constitution anniversary was last celebrated on July 6, 1936, although the formation of a new law began a year before. Finally, the Constitution was adopted on December 5, and the date of December 6 was declared a holiday in honor of the new Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Constitution anniversary celebrations were held every year until 1941. Since then no festive events were held until the 1970s, but the day remained to be non-working.

On October 7, 1977, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted a new Constitution, and this day became a holiday date. The Constitution itself did not differ much from the previous version.

Another new Constitution of the RSFSR appeared in 1978, and in 1991, October 7 was no longer a holiday.

In 1993, the Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted. December 12 became the new day of celebrations in 1994, although no festive events were held then. In 2004, Constitution Day ceased to be a day off.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation was last updated in 2020. The new version of the document, as amended, entered into force on July 4, 2020.


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