Post sponsored by

MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

During the May Day demonstration of workers in Red Square. Photo by V. Egorov. 1985 year. Main Archive of Moscow

May 1 itself was not chosen by chance – the date was chosen in memory of the events of May 1-4, 1886, when the workers of Chicago went on strike, demanding an eight-hour working day.

World Workers’ Day was first celebrated in 1889. This decision was made at the founding congress of the Second International, held in Paris. IN Glavarchivpreserved information about how the celebrations of this day were held in different years.

The day May 1 itself was not chosen by chance – the date serves as a memory of the events of May 1-4, 1886, when the proletarians went on strike in Chicago, demanding an eight-hour working day. The event ended with clashes with the police and harsh reprisals against the organizers of the movements.

In the Russian Empire, the holiday was also celebrated, but unofficially: meetings of workers, May Day (illegal meetings of workers on May 1) and street demonstrations were organized. Openly, May Day was celebrated in our country on May 1 (April 18, old style), 1917. Then about 1.5 million Muscovites took part in the event. Residents of the city marched under red banners, and the organizers were the Moscow Soviets of Workers ‘and Soldiers’ Deputies, trade unions and socialist parties.

At the state level, May 1 was celebrated in 1918. The central streets of Moscow were decorated with posters, meetings and rallies were held throughout the city, the first military parade of the Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army took place on the Khodynskoye field, Vladimir Lenin also spoke to the workers. In the 20s of the last century, a plan of celebrations was already established: a military parade was held on Red Square, then a demonstration of workers and folk festivities. The streets of the city were decorated with red flags and banners, as well as portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, and later began to use the image of Joseph Stalin.

Initially, May 1 was celebrated as International Day, and then it acquired the name “Day of International Workers’ Solidarity – May 1”. It was a non-working day, and later a decree was issued on the day off and May 2.

Many people took part in the workers’ holiday. For example, in 1926 there were approximately 800,000 demonstrators, and the following year the number increased to a million.

During the war years, May Day celebrations did not take place. But in 1945, when there was no doubt about the victory, a military parade was held in Moscow again, while demonstrations resumed in 1946. This sequence – first a parade, then a demonstration – continued until 1968. It was then that the last May Day military parade took place.

Over time, the May holidays began to be perceived by the population as a vacation, and the ideological background of the celebration came to naught. In 1992, May 1 was named the Spring and Labor Day.

In the history of modern Russia, the first march of trade unions and labor collectives took place on May 1, 2014. Thus, the annual tradition of May Day demonstrations was renewed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL OSI Russia News