Cosmonauts Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov Congratulate Russians With Defender Of Fatherland Day
"February 23 is the day of those people who know what military duty is, who are on a battle watch today and are ready for self-sacrifice in the name of their homeland, in the name of life on Earth, for peace in the world. We embrace and shake your hands, friends," Russian cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov said in a video address released by Russian space agency Roscosmos.
Kud-Sverchkov said he was congratulating both current servicemen and those who are yet to take the oath with Defender of the Fatherland Day.
Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, in his turn, wished good health, happiness and confidence to Russians, saying "May there always be a peaceful sky over our planet.
The Defender of the Fatherland Day, previously known as the Soviet Army and Navy Day, was introduced in 1922 and commemorates the establishment of the Red Army in 1918. The Soviet Union tended to regard the date of February 23, 1918, as a day commemorating the first Soviet victory over German troops near the Russian cities of Pskov and Narva.
Nowadays, the holiday is primarily a day to honor war veterans and those who serve in the military. Over the years, "the defender" has come to represent more than a soldier, and the holiday is now also widely considered to be a day celebrating manhood in Russia. On February 23, Russian women usually give small presents to their male relatives, friends, husbands and co-workers.