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It's Paratrooper's Day and Russia is draining all of its fountains
August 3, 2012 9:13 AM   Subscribe

It's Paratrooper's Day in Russia and Russia is draining all of its fountains.

Officially, the day is celebrated with cadet marches and memorials... Today Russian paratroopers put on their striped shirts and blue berets and flood the streets to celebrate. Tradition dictates they meet their fellow-servicemen and splash in Moscow's fountains.

Unofficially, the elite troops start drinking at sunrise, then head off to city parks to brawl.

The Federation of Migrants of Russia issued a public warning to avoid parks, train stations and commuter trains, and the the U.S. Embassy in Moscow similarly sent out an announcement.

More video.

Bonus link: A Ukrainian paratrooper eats a toad during an exhibition
posted by KokuRyu (31 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 


Happy armed angry Russian vigilante lynch mob day, everybody!
posted by Nomyte at 9:19 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just think, if the west had lost the Cold War this could've been us.
posted by item at 9:21 AM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Elsewhere in the former U.S.S.R.
posted by griphus at 9:27 AM on August 3, 2012


Protesters gassing the police. There's a sight you don't see often.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:53 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Quick, hide the watermelons and the toads!!
posted by Mooseli at 10:08 AM on August 3, 2012


Sounds not unlike St.Patrick's day except the migrant bashing bit.
posted by Damienmce at 10:20 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


St.Patrick's day except the migrant bashing bit.
Anti-immigrant surge likely as Irish economy deteriorates
posted by stbalbach at 10:25 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, the Russian soldiers came back from Afghanistan even more broken than the Americans.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to call for restraint Thursday, but with a barely concealed smile, during public remarks to paratroopers in Ulyanovsk. “I hope that Paratrooper Day will pass without excesses, and that your colleagues will behave themselves adequately, at least without gross violations of public order,” he said.

That's exactly what Putin said to Bashar al-Assad, with the same barely concealed smile: "no gross violations", but everything else will be warmly overlooked.
posted by three blind mice at 10:34 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unofficially, the elite troops start drinking at sunrise, then head off to city parks to brawl.

That's pretty much every day at Fort Bragg. No wonder we won the Cold War.
posted by mph at 10:35 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to set up a "Russian Paratrooper Day or Gay Pride Festival?" web site.
posted by tippiedog at 10:38 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Disgusting. Blue berets?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:39 AM on August 3, 2012


One thing I wondered about was why the beret cap-badges featured the hammer and sickle of the old Soviet Union, when often the paratroopers looked like they were in their late twenties or early thirties (presumably their military service was with the Russian Federation).
posted by KokuRyu at 10:44 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's pretty much every day at Fort Bragg. No wonder we won the Cold War.

Doesn't account for it. It's pretty much every day in Russia, too. Civilians included.
posted by peacrow at 10:45 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anti-immigrant surge likely as Irish economy deteriorates

Incisive what if anecdotal commentary commentary from their Washington DC based columnist. Meanwhile in the world of actual data... (link to OECD .xls)
posted by Damienmce at 10:49 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing I wondered about was why the beret cap-badges featured the hammer and sickle of the old Soviet Union, when often the paratroopers looked like they were in their late twenties or early thirties (presumably their military service was with the Russian Federation).

There may be a specific reason, but from what I can tell, it's still a really common symbol in Russia. I saw many young, young policemen wearing it on their uniforms as well. And it's on all the Aeroflot stuff. There is a bit of "longing for the old days" of the Soviet Union amongst young people that have a hard time finding work in this economy. You couldn't buy jeans and televisions, but at least you didn't have to worry about paying for the basics, which people are struggling with.
posted by peacrow at 10:49 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to giveyou the heads up that the link to englishrussia.com from the sentence that starts Tradition dictates has images that are NSFW under the article. You probably can't see them if you have adblocker running.
posted by oneear at 10:54 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My goodness!
posted by pracowity at 10:59 AM on August 3, 2012


Incisive what if anecdotal commentary commentary from their Washington DC based columnist.

Ha, yeah, I thought so too as I was reading it.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:05 AM on August 3, 2012


Back in the early nineties when I was an undergrad, I worked in a restaurant with a Ukrainian fellow who was a former paratrooper. He was a remarkable individual - he was a graduate assistant at our university, about ten or twelve years older than me, teaching French classes to English speaking students. And at night we washed dishes together and later waited tables together at the restaurant. Over time we became good friends in spite of our vastly different backgrounds and personalities.

I can't remember if it technically was Paratrooper's Day but there was a day of the year when a group of Russian expats in the area would get together at his small apartment in our small college town. My friend invited me, the only non Russian speaker. My friend would wear the blue striped shirt and beret, none of the others were former paratroopers but it was a day of national pride and they got together to drink vodka. What I remembered about these gatherings was how absolutely fucking somber they all were even though they were plainly trying to display pride. Mirthless. A lot of staring down quietly at empty shot glasses. Some occasional voices raised to a toast. They were lonely and adrift, all of them seemed somehow broken.

To whoever it was above that wrote that this is how we might be if we lost the Cold War, I suspect there may something to that. Holding on to our pride, putting on costumes and dousing ourselves with alcohol, maybe knocking a few immigrant heads together because, you know, USA.
posted by chicxulub at 11:29 AM on August 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's sort of interesting how the paratroopers in the pictures (if not in chicxulub's anecdote) seem to be so disorganized. Here in the west our one military holiday is Remembrance Day (or Memorial Day or whatever you call it) which is very somber and about remembering the dead, with official services and parades. (I guess they have Victory Day in Russia for that?) But Paratroopers Day seems to be about releasing the servicemen into the streets, with no officers around, to do whatever they like.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:36 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Many participants will be current and ex-paratroopers wearing traditional light blue berets and light blue and white striped shirts, singing patriotic songs and celebrating. "

I guess "singing and celebrating" is shorthand for "drinking copious amounts of vodka".
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 1:13 PM on August 3, 2012


City governments across Russia drained the water from municipal fountains Thursday, hoping to keep drunken paratroopers from drowning in them.

Fact: they also do this on Mother's day.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:27 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fountain hopping seems kind of common, celebratorily. English Russia regularly covers graduation which appears to require young women dressing loli and hitting the fountains.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:40 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


...drained the water from municipal fountains Thursday, hoping to keep drunken paratroopers from drowning in them.

I'll take 'Phrases you never, ever expected to hear' for $200 Alex.
posted by Splunge at 2:27 PM on August 3, 2012


City governments across Russia drained the water from municipal fountains Thursday, hoping to keep drunken paratroopers from drowning in them.

See also: "turtle ditches" in the Republic of Korea. Since there's no way to drain a turtle ditch, exactly, you just have to run periodic PSAs on AFARTS telling the soldiers not to get drunk, fall in them and drown.
posted by mph at 3:29 PM on August 3, 2012


I was in Gorky Park for a meeting yesterday morning just as all this was starting to kick off. It was a strange combination of high camp and extreme menace. I wasn't sorry to get out.
posted by jonathanbell at 4:15 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, worst day of the year to get shashlik, because the Tajiks and Uzbeks (rightly ) tend to spend some time with their families.

Actually, individually, VDV guys are ok in my experience. They're a little defensive because of the reputation. But big groups of trained fighters plus alcohol plus machismo plus patriotism equals trouble.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:50 PM on August 3, 2012


re: anti-immigration in Ireland, there is plenty more (I just picked the first one), point being, there is anti-immigration everywhere in Europe these days.
posted by stbalbach at 8:26 AM on August 4, 2012


..I mean, one can find it everywhere, not that it is in the majority everywhere, but definitely an issue. Comes in hand with deteriating economic conditions, rise of nationalism, xenophobia, particularly virulent in the most troubled countries like Greece.
posted by stbalbach at 8:42 AM on August 4, 2012


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