Russian President Vladimir Putin is lucky with his 60th birthday. At least, he could celebrate the anniversary without being distracted with his work, for his birthday was on Sunday, October 7. The heads of states, however, do not have weekends in the common sense of this word, but Putin was lucky again. It was reported that Putin celebrated the holiday in his native city of St. Petersburg with his family. "No anniversary celebrations were envisaged," the president's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov said.
In general, the birthday of a head of state is a special date. On the one hand, each person every year celebrates their birthday, and presidents do not make an exception at this point. On the other hand, a head of state -is a public person, who also expresses the interests of his or her fellow citizens. Any head of any state represents the country at the highest level. Clearly, not everyone would agree with that definition, but more on that later.
In short, if a head of state celebrates his or her birthday, then congratulations in their address, serve, at the very least, a manifestation of good taste. Nuances concern only the form and scope of the congratulations; they largely depend on the customs and traditions that every country has.
In North Korea and Thailand, for example, they equate such a day to a public holiday without further equivocation. In the UK, the monarch's birthday is celebrated pompously, but only with the proviso that the date is linked to the first, second or third Saturday of June (as the hero of the day chooses). In the U.S., they decided to be even more democratic. The Americans celebrate the President's Day, which was originally dedicated to the birthday of the first President of the United States - George Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732. However, since another, the 16th President - Abraham Lincoln - was also born in February, on the 12th, it was decided to celebrate this holiday on the third Monday of February - somewhere between the two dates.
Russia does not have such traditions. Joseph Stalin could be an exception, though, but he strongly hindered the attempts of labor collectives to celebrate his birthday at the all-national level.
Stalin's conversation with writer Lion Feuchtwanger is a curious one in this respect. The writer noted during the conversation that the feelings of love and respect for Stalin from the population were "utterly honest and elementary," but were not always adequately perceived by outside observers. Feuchtwanger wondered whether Joseph Stalin could have his say to "stop these manifestations of delight." The Secretary General responded: "I have tried to do it several times, but it doesn't work. Telling them is not good. People think that I say this out of false modesty. They wanted to have celebrations of my 55th anniversary. I ordered the Central Committee of the Communist Party to prohibit this. Then complaints began to arrive saying that I do not let them to celebrate, express their feelings, that it was not me. Others said that I was clowning. How can I prohibit these manifestations of delight? I can't do it forcefully. There is freedom of expression. One can ask in a friendly way. This is a manifestation of the lack of culture. One gets tired of this eventually. It's hard to stop people from expressing their joy. It's pitiable to take stringent measures against workers and peasants."
"Our people still lag behind in terms of the general cultural level, so we have this expression of delight like that. A law can not ban here anything. One can get into a ridiculous situation. The fact that some people abroad are upset about it - well, there's nothing you can do. Culture can not be achieved quickly. We do a lot in this area. For example, in 1935 and 1936, we built more than 2,000 new schools in cities. We do everything possible to raise the cultural level, but the results will be visible in 5-6 years. The cultural progress is slow. Delights grow rapidly and ugly," said Stalin. He added that one should distinguish between broad masses of the population, and bureaucrats who are "concerned that if they don't have a Stalin bust, then they get criticized in newspapers, or their visitors get surprised. This is a field of careerism, a form of self-defense of bureaucrats: one has to put up a bust of Stalin not to be bothered," Stalin said.
The citation of the conversation is quite abstract, but it seems that Stalin's views about the issue are still relevant today.
Female students of the Moscow State University prepared the most controversial gift to Vladimir Putin in 2010. They produced an erotic calendar, in which the nude girls congratulated their idol with phrases like, "What about a third time," or "The forests are not burning, but I'm on fire." The idea found support among the opposition. They released their version of the calendar, although it was a non-erotic one, of course, with far more commonplace remarks like "Who killed Anna Politkovskaya?"
This year, with Putin's entry into the seventh decade, the opposition was very much creative around the retirement age issue. They prepared benches and other "retired gifts" like an old radio, a hose for watering flowerbeds, etc. In short, everything was predictable and generally not interesting.
"I do not reject anyone and I do not want to belittle the merits of any possible leaders of the opposition, but, of course, apart from the noise and shouts, a person needs to do something to show that he or she is capable of doing something positive, and only after that a person can claim to be the leader of something. They have many of those who want to become leaders, but this is the matter of that society," Putin told NTV. "Naturally, the husk will be thrown away, and bright, interesting and intelligent people will emerge, who can take on responsibility for some industries, fields of social life, and perhaps the whole country," said the head of state.
Vladimir Putin could be an iron man, but he is not the Terminator. He is not a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party, who "retire" for reasons of natural character, to put it mildly. It is possible to have Putin retired. It can not be done through scathing mockery, though. It can be done with the use of democratic rights and freedoms that every Russian citizen has.