Volunteer Day in Russia Date in the current year: December 5, 2024

Volunteer Day in Russia Volunteer Day in Russia is celebrated on December 5 every year. It was officially established by President Vladimir Putin in 2017 to highlight the contribution of volunteers to their communities and to encourage further development of the volunteer movement in Russia.

Volunteers are people who freely give time and labor for community service. The world “volunteer” originally denoted a soldier who chose to enter military service, as opposed to having been conscripted.

The volunteer movement in its present-day form began to emerge in the mid-19th century. One of the first volunteer organizations was the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), founded in the United Kingdom in 1844. During the American Civil War, YMCA in the United States provided nursing, shelter, and other support to those who needed it.

Other volunteer organizations that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Kiwanis International, Junior League, Lions Clubs International, the Red Cross, Rotary International, and the Salvation Army. Since then, volunteering has become increasingly common. Volunteering is extremely important to communities and society in general, but it is also beneficial for volunteers.

In the Soviet Union, there were plenty of volunteer organizations, such as voluntary people’s patrols and DOSAAF (Volunteer Society of Assistance to the Army, Aviation and Navy). However, one should keep in mind that in the USSR many activities that were called voluntary were strongly implied to be mandatory. For example, members of the Komsomol were expected to join DOSAAF as well. So the Soviet volunteer movement wasn’t in fact 100% voluntary.

The development of the volunteer movement in present-day Russia began after the collapse of the Soviet Union and gained momentum in the 2000s, due in no small part to a system of state grants for non-profit organizations, including volunteer organizations, that was introduced in 2006.

The date of Volunteer Day in Russia was chosen to coincide with the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development that has been celebrated by the United Nations since 1985. The inaugural Russian Volunteer Day was celebrated in 2018, which was officially declared the Year of the Volunteer in Russia.

Volunteer Day in Russia is marked with the annual International Volunteer Forum that brings together several thousand participants from Russia and abroad. Its program includes a presentation of various volunteer projects and the Volunteer of Russia award ceremony.

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Volunteer Day in Russia, holidays in Russia, International Volunteer Day, International Volunteer Forum