President of Russia, Vladimir Putin marked International Women's Day 2017 with this message :
Dear women: mothers, grandmothers, daughters, wives, friends, our nearest and dearest ones, please accept my heartfelt congratulations on International Women’s Day!
You fill this world with beauty and vitality, giving warmth and comfort, cordiality and harmony with your tenderness and generosity of spirit.
You care day and night for your children, grandchildren and your family. Even today, on International Women’s Day, you are still caught up in your routine, working tirelessly, always on time. We often ask ourselves, how do they manage it all?
Most importantly, we love and treasure you. No wonder men have been celebrating women in music and poetry for centuries. Konstantin Balmont, a Russian Silver Age poet, described women in a vivid and precise manner:
A woman – with us when we are born,
A woman – with us in our last hour,
A woman – our standard during battle,
A woman – the joy of open eyes.
We always turn to women for inspiration and consolation, and always find it. Women give us life and perpetuate it in our children.
That said, women also need men’s support. We will remember that always, not only today. We will do our outmost to surround the women we love with care and attention, so that they can smile more often.
Once again, let me congratulate you sincerely on this holiday. I wish you good health, success, joy and happiness. Happy Women’s Day!
International Women's Day is a throwback from Soviet times, but it remains a national holiday in Russia today. It is the day when women are celebrated - with wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers, mother in laws, grandmothers, aunts, etc, receiving flowers, chocolates and cakes from the men in their lives.
I've been in Russia on two occasions when when this holiday has been celebrated. Flower sellers on every street and metro entrance; Men carrying cake boxes with string handles and bunches of flowers wrapped in copies of Pravda; and people greet each other with 'S praznikom' (happy holiday, i think) - it is a happy occasion which is widely celebrated.
But as women say in Russia "1 day for women, 364 days for men" bemoaning the fact that their menfolk do very little the rest of the year to contribute to the household chores. Even on International Women's day they can get a raw deal - I was walking around Red Square on a bitterly cold night of 8th March 1988 when I spotted two women shovelling snow on to the back of a truck - back-breaking work; meanwhile, sitting in the warm cabin of the truck, was their male co-worker relaxing with a cigarette!