Russian President Dmitrii Medvedev just signed into law a change in the list of Russian military holidays. June 29 is now the “Day of Partisans and Underground Resistance.”
First a linguistic note: the word in the Russian text for “underground resistance” is “podpol’shchikov,” which could just as easily refer to Bolshevik party members on the run from the tsarist police as to heroic resistance against the Nazis. It’s the same word.
Still, the context makes it pretty clear this is NOT what those who introduced the bill had in mind. This change in the list of holidays originated from Briansk (close to the western border) and the specific day commemorated marks the 29 June 1941 Central Committee / Council of People’s Commissars decree calling on party and state organizations in occupied zones to take up the partisan struggle against the invaders. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to track a copy of that document online, but I’d welcome anyone who has a link. Ken Slepyan’s Stalin’s Guerrilashas a nice discussion of the context on pp. 24-25.
Much as I’d like to be able to draw some broader political significance out of this, I think it’s actually a sign of the normalization of the State Duma’s function–that its legislators are spending time on pointless commemorations of various good things.