Russia: International Women's Day

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International Women's Day – by LJ user ljpost

March 8 happened to be the first really warm and sunny day in Moscow this year, and although crowds were out celebrating the International Women's Day, this didn't silence the Russian blogosphere at all.

LJ user ljpost, whose beer-drinking smiley creation is reproduced above, has also posted a March 8 male joke (RUS):

[She]: Darling, have you bought a March 8 present for me?
[He]: Of course, my dear.
[She]: Is it something that I'll like?
[He]: If you don't, you can give it to me: I've been dreaming about a spinning rod like this for a long time.

Joking (but not beer) aside, LJ user galerist – a well-known Russian gallery owner Marat Guelman – takes a moment to greet his mother, wife and daughter (RUS):

For me, it's not the “International Women's Day” – but the day of mama, Yulia and Eva.

If I've achieved anything, for example, it's only because I wanted to prove my “specialness” to Yulia. That is, she is my motivation. That I didn't screw it all up, in my meanderings, is also her achievement.

My mama, who is now with me always (thanks to LJ) – she may understand little of my life, but her emotions are my energy.

My dear little daughter makes me stay young and easily puts me into a state of idiotic delight several times a day. […]

In the next post, galerist discloses (RUS) the kind of drink he was celebrating with:

We had hemp beer for the holiday dinner today. Maybe it's my imagination, but it somehow got me feeling super super well.

Russian journalist Natalya Radulova (LJ user radulova) adopts Marat Guelman's approach and writes about her beloved female relatives – but in her post (RUS), there's enough material for a few short stories:

Thank you

I suggest we all write about the women who played some role in our life and in the life of our country. Let it be our little “thank you.”

My grandmother Manya (Maria, but this is how we called her). She was born in Tambov region. During the war, soldiers were passing through their village and she sliced the freshly-baked bread and ran to offer it to them. She gave each one a piece, except for one young soldier – and he started crying. So my grandmother went back and brought him the last piece that remained: the heel of the loaf [krayushechka]. She married Pavel, a disabled war veteran, who had been wounded near Leningrad, during an attack to end the Siege. She bore five children.

Grandmother Marusya (also Maria, but for some reason Marusya for short :) When I was little, I used to call her “baba Musya). Her first husband was killed during the war. Her second marriage was with Ivan, a disabled war vet as well. She had four children, one of whom is my papa, Victor. Grandfather had an open wound, which for some reason would not heal, and most of my memories are of my grandmother constantly washing blood-soaked bandages. Grapes and tulips grew in her backyard. Her birthday is March 8.

Galina. My grandfather's sister. She fought in the war. A Hero of the Soviet Union. I know very little about her.

Another Galina. My friend's grandmother [not related to her by blood]. During the war, the Germans gathered the Jews of Odessa and were taking them to be shot. Russian and Ukrainian women were whispering from the archways: “Throw the child!.. [RUS – Brosay rebyonka] Throw the child! [UKR – Kyday dytynu]” And one Jewish woman did just that – she threw her daughter into the hands of a stranger. Galina raised the girl, and then after the war her mother was found – she had survived. But Galya has forever remained part of this family.

Tatyana, my mama. A teacher. Her first child died right after birth, unfortunately. Then I was born, and my brother. My mama still works at school with my papa.

Finally, although March 8 was a day off for many in Russia, some – including riot police at Moscow's Pushkin Square – had to work relatively hard that day. And a tiny rally against Russia's involvement in Chechnya gained some prominence that day, due to the police and media presence – and, above all, thanks to a counter-rally held by a group of activists of Rossiya Molodaya (“Young Russia”), a youth movement that may be labeled as an anti-opposition opposition group.

Some in the anti-war group (no more than two dozen people) were there to also mark the second anniversary of Aslan Maskhadov‘s death (two years ago, on March 8, 2005, the dead body of the Chechen separatist leader was on every Russian TV channel, and Ramzan Kadyrov, then Chechnya's deputy prime minister, now the president, announced that this was his March 8 present to every Chechen woman).

“Aslan Maskhadov is not a terrorist, but a slain president of the Chechen Republic,” was one of the slogans at the rally this year.

Rossiya Molodaya activists stood nearby holding a banner with this slogan on it: “It's better to congratulate women than commemorate a corpse.”

Then, all of a sudden, a young man ran towards the blue toilet booths installed nearby, climbed them and began throwing leaflets from the roof in the direction of the anti-war protesters, chanting the same slogan over and over again, until the police succeeded in bringing him down.

LJ user principiale posted photos of the incident in the ru_politics LJ community and provided a link to this YouTube video, produced by Rossiya Molodaya and viewed 3,078 times so far:

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