Thematic album "Military uniform of the 19th century in the graphics by A. Orłowski”

To mark the Defender of the Motherland Day we have prepared a thematic album "Military uniform of the 19th century in the graphic works of Aleksander Orłowski".

In Tsarist Russia, Military men were reverenced in the Russian czar's forces, there were several commemorative days. At that time, most military festive events were timed to coincide with the dates in the Orthodox calendar, as Orthodoxy was at the head of the army. The holiday, most reminiscent of today's Defender of the Motherland Day, was celebrated on May 6, in Saint George the Trophy Bearer Day (George's Day in Spring, Egoriy Veshniy).

All units of the army and navy celebrated Saint George Day; the civilian population marked it as well. On this day, new recruits were sworn in; prayers were hold, as well as solemn meetings and assemblies, Saint George balls and other events that glorified the might and vigor of the Russian army. There was also George's Day in Winter (Yuri Kholodniy, Egoriy Zimniy) - December 9. The holiday was celebrated only by the Order of Saint George the Trophy Bearer holders. Catherine II established the Order on December 9, 1769.

In ancient times, every man fit to carry arms was a warrior and come onto the battlefield in the clothes he wore in his everyday life. However, the requirement to distinguish friendly troops from the enemy army from afar off, led to the attire to have clothes of the same colour or at least insignia. From the time of Peter I soldiers and officers knew exactly what uniform was appropriate to wear for parade, what should be worn daily, and what clothes in time of military campaign. All regiments had special insignia. In Russia, the people that wore uniform were always treated with great reverence. The uniform always served as a reminder of combat heroism, honour and a high sense of military comradeship. Military uniform was considered a prestigious and, to a certain extent, prestigious man's clothing. This was particularly true of ceremonial dress-coat.

History of Defender of the Motherland Day in Russia

Defender of the Motherland Day has been celebrated in Russia for over 100 years. During this time, the holiday has been renamed several times, but the date and meaning have remained the same. At different periods, all sorts of interpretations of its origin were adopted. Initially, the holiday was timed to coincide with the Red Army battles against the German forces in February 1918. On 23 February mass public gathering were held in Petrograd, Moscow and other cities in the country, at which workers were urged to defend their homeland. This day was marked by the plural entry of volunteers into the Red Army and the beginning of extensive formation of its detachments and units, which soon halted the advance of the German troops near Pskov and Narva.

From February 23, 1922, the day is marked as a big national holiday, the Red Army birthday.

Since 1923, by order of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, February 23 had been celebrated annually as Red Army Day. Since 1946, the holiday became known as the Day of the Soviet Army and Navy.

On February 10, 1995 the State Duma of Russia adopted the Federal law "On the Days of Military Glory of Russia", in which this day is named,  "February 23 - Day of the Red Army Victory over the German Kaiser troops in 1918. - Defender of the Motherland Day".

The final name "Defender of the Motherland Day" was given to the holiday on 15 April 2006. This day became a holiday in 2002 by the presidential decree.

Today the majority of Russian citizens tend to regard Defender of the Motherland Day not so much as the anniversary of the great victory or the Red Army birthday, but as the day of hundred-per-cent he-man. Defenders in the broadest sense of the word.