Posted by: MYPLACE FP7 | May 17, 2012

“Thank grandmother and grandfather for the Great Victory!”: holiday run in Saint-Petersburg

An action of the “Russian Run” movement that was dedicated to the Victory Day took place on the 9th of May. The “Russian Run” is one of the case-studies in MYPLACE. research in Russia. Aleksey Zinoviev, researcher of the Centre of Youth Studies, participated in this event.

For more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website: HERE

Besides regular Sunday morning runs in Saint-Petersburg, an informal “Russian Run” movement organizes holiday runs as well. One of such holiday runs was one dedicated to the Victory Day.   Like all other holiday runs, it was held in the evening where the streets were full of people. On the one hand, the main task of this holiday run was to congratulate everyone on the holiday. On the other hand, this was a straight anti-alcohol agitation targeted to the people taking alcohol during these holidays. The slogan calling for the event in a video said «9 maja – Den’ Pobedy, a ne p’janstva!» (“The 9th of May is a Victory Day, not alcohol abuse day!”)

Such holiday runs took place in other cities in Russia as well as in Byelorussia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

“Russian Run”, Saint-Petersburg, the 9th of May (photo by Aleksey Zinoviev)

Saint-Petersburg run started at 7 p.m. started near “Sportivnaya” metro station and finished near “Gostiny Dvor” metro station. Besides traditional for the “Russian Run” flags (Imperial flag, “Russian Run” flag and Russian flag) flag of Victory was waving in front of the column. Young people were running on the streets shouting slogans such as «Russkaja molodezh’ – trezvaja molodezh’!» (“Russian youth – sober youth!”), ‘Russkii – znachit trezvii’ ( “‘I’m a Russian, that means I’m sober”), «Alkogol’ – k chertu! Nikotin – k chertu! My svoju zhizn’ posvjawaem sportu!»  (“Damn alcohol! Damn nicotine! We dedicate our life to sport!”), «Poka my ediny – my nepobedimy!» (“While we are united, we are invincible!”)

Russian Run”, Saint-Petersburg, the 9th of May (photo by Aleksey Zinoviev

Russian Run”, Saint-Petersburg, the 9th of May (photo by Aleksey Zinoviev

However, the most popular slogans were the following ones: «Tvoj ded srazhalsja, voeval ne dlja togo, chtoby ty buhal!» (“Your grandfather fought not for you to booze!”) and «Spasibo babushke i dedu za Velikuju Pobedu!» (“Thank grandmother and grandfather for the Great Victory!”). The participants made a stop near the “Bronze Horseman” monument to do group physical exercises.

Russian Run”, Saint-Petersburg, the 9th of May (photo by Aleksey Zinoviev

Then they continued running towards Nevsky avenue. There due to the overcrowdings the run actually turned into march.  Young people went on towards “Gostiny Dvor” metro station shouting the slogans. Near the metro station they lined up in two rows and applauded to the coming jogging participants that were running pass the lines and stopped at the end being cheered by the storm of applause. The run ended by a round of applause and invitations for the next collective run on the 20th of May. 

It is worth mentioning the positive response from the celebrating citizens: members were warmly welcomed and cheered by applauses. Elderly people appealed to them asking about the movement and wishing them to stay as they are, they were telling them how they used to go in for sports as well. The participants themselves were stopping in order to congratulate the veterans on the great holiday; some of them were taking pictures on the background of the flag of the Victory. The only conflict occurred with an elderly man who was discontent with the Imperial flag that was present in the run. The participants were trying to explain him the meaning of this flag but the man remained unconvinced. The police did not interfere with the holiday action.

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