Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that patriotism is the "axis of historical memory" of the Russian people, at the official reception in the Kremlin on the occasion of the People's Unity Day, a national holiday in remembrance of liberation of Moscow from the Polish invaders in 1612.
Putin stressed that patriotism is a "very important part of the national culture", that in the history of Russia there have been crucial stages, in which "the courage, the cohesion and the will of the people decided the destiny of the country".
He appealed to Russians living abroad and also to neighboring countries to emphasize what unites them to Russia and its citizens, and not in discrepancies.
"If we rely on what unites us, and not on the current differences, we will do like Catherine the Great: not only will we eliminate reciprocal tariffs and other restrictions, but together we will advance for the good of our peoples," Putin said.
As is traditional on this date, the Russian leader announced the award of the annual prize for the contribution to strengthening the unity of the Russian nation, which this year fell to the linguist and president of the Russian Academy of Education, Liudmila Verbítskaya.
In addition, the head of the Kremlin honored eleven foreigners, two of them two Spaniards, for their outstanding contributions to the strengthening of peace, friendship and understanding among peoples, and for the preservation of Russian culture and language outside of the country borders.
Putin granted the Order of Friendship to the honorary consul of Russia in the Balearic Islands, Sebastià Roig i Montserrat, who has important ties with this country and has dedicated part of his life to promoting the reception of Russian children with problems.
The second Spanish distinguished by the Russian president was the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, to whom he imposed the Pushkin Medal for his contribution to the cultural ties between Russia and Spain, materialized in the opening in 2015 of a Russian Museum headquarters of Saint Petersburg in the Andalusian city.
"Russian culture has a home on the shores of the Mediterranean," said De la Torre, thanking Putin for the distinction at the ceremony held in the St. Andrew's Hall of the Kremlin Grand Palace.
While the biggest official event of the day is taking place, in the southeast of Moscow, in the middle of a large police deployment, nationalist groups celebrated the "Russian march", which this year brought together some two hundred people, despite the fact that its organizers had requested permission for a demonstration of up to 6,000 people.
The march culminated in a rally, without there being any notable clashes between protesters and policemen, although according to the Ejo Moskvy radio station (Echo of Moscow) police officers arrested between 6 and 8 people.
The "Russian marches" to protest the migration policy of the authorities are traditionally held in Russia since 2005, coinciding with the People's Unity Day.
This year the participants also raised anti-government slogans and in favor of the release of political prisoners.
The march of the nationalists in 2017 was marked by dozens of arrests made in Moscow despite the suspension of the act after the records made by the police in the homes of nationalist leaders investigated for extremism.
This year, in addition to Moscow, nationalist demonstrations were authorized in eleven other cities, including St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk.
The Day of the People's Unity was instituted in 2005, replacing the Day of Concord and Conciliation, which was celebrated on November 7 instead of the Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, a party abolished only in 1996, five years after the fall of communism.