On November 21, Russians will celebrate the Military Oath Day for the first time. This holiday is intended to help educate Russians, especially young people, in the spirit of devotion and selfless service to the Motherland using historical examples of soldiers’ loyalty to their sacred duty. The State Duma adopted the corresponding law on May 23, the Federation Council approved it on June 7, and on June 13 the memorable date was established by the President Vladimir Putin.
An oath for centuries
The date November 21 was not chosen by chance; it was on this day in 1721 that Emperor Peter I issued a decree on the oath of office for various positions – each rank, when assigned to service, must take an oath of allegiance and devotion to Russia. So this year Russia will celebrate 302 years since the establishment of the solemn promise by the defenders of the Fatherland.
By law, the military oath is the oath that every citizen takes when enlisting in the armed forces, under contract, or for military training. It is also given by a student at a military training center at a federal university, a student of an educational organization in the military training program for sergeants, reserve foremen, soldiers, and reserve sailors.
The oath ceremony is a whole ritual. At the appointed time, the military unit lines up on the parade ground in full dress uniform and with weapons. Often the event is held near memorials and monuments. The orchestra is lined up, the battle flag of the unit or institution is brought out, as well as the state flag of Russia. Those who take the oath go to the front line. Before the ceremony itself, the unit commander speaks, reminding the soldiers that taking the military oath is not only an honor, but also a great responsibility assigned by the state to protect the Motherland and the Constitution.
The fighter reads the text of the oath aloud in front of the formation: “I, (last name, first name, patronymic), solemnly swear allegiance to my Fatherland – the Russian Federation. I swear to sacredly observe the Constitution of the Russian Federation, strictly comply with the requirements of military regulations, orders of commanders and superiors. I swear to fulfill my military duty with dignity, to courageously defend the freedom, independence and constitutional system of Russia, the people and the Fatherland.” Then the warrior signs the list opposite his name and takes his place in the ranks.
By the way, for all participants the oath day is a non-working day and is celebrated as a holiday.
As enshrined in law
Member of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Olga Kovitidi admitted to the Parliamentary Newspaper that she initially took the initiative to establish a Military Oath Day in Russia, but then her idea was supported by legislators such as Hero of the Soviet Union Valentina TereshkovaHeroes of Russia Yuri Vorobiev, Victor Bondarev, Andrey Krasov.
“In collaboration with a group of senators and State Duma deputies, I found unanimous support from both chambers of the Russian Parliament. The law was signed by the President of the Russian Federation,” Kovitidi said.
The parliamentarian recalled that throughout the history of our Motherland, the valiant Russian army sacredly observed loyalty to the Fatherland and faith: the warriors of Alexander Nevsky did not spare their lives on the ice of Lake Peipsi, the Russian soldiers near the village of Borodino in 1812 were faithful to the Fatherland, they fulfilled their military oath to the heroic people. Panfilov’s men in 1941 at the Dubosekovo crossing.
After the collapse of the USSR in 1992, they refused to take the oath to Ukraine and the majority of the personnel of the Red Banner Black Sea Fleet under the command of Admiral Igor Kasatonov remained faithful to the oath. Border guards of the 12th outpost of the Moscow border detachment in Tajikistan in July 1993 and paratroopers of the 6th company of the 104th Guards Parachute Regiment of the 76th Guards Pskov Airborne Division in the North Caucasus in 2000 fought to the death.
Olga Kovitidi especially emphasized that selfless love for the Motherland, self-sacrifice, courage and heroism of the Russian people became the basis for staunch observance of the military oath. Today, Russian defenders of the Fatherland are demonstrating fidelity to the oath and undivided courage when defending the interests of the Russian Federation within the framework of a special operation in Ukraine.
“From now on, friends, every year on November 21 we will celebrate a holiday – the Day of the Military Oath of Russia! This is an extremely significant event, since it reflects the immense respect of the entire people of Russia for the defenders of the Fatherland and the selfless courage of Russian soldiers,” the senator concluded.