Defence of the Fatherland day is celebrated on 23 February. It may also be called 'Defence of the Motherland Day'. The holiday honours those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces and those who have served in the past.
During the era of the Soviet Union, it was called Red Army Day or the Day of the Soviet Army and Navy.
In 1918, just after the German had invaded and captured Minsk, the Soviets declared a state of emergency and called for a draft in St. Petersburg. As a result, ten thousand people signed up on 23 February1918.
The day was first celebrated in Moscow as "Day of the Birth of the Red Army" in 1922.
It was made an official holiday in 1923 under the name "Day of the Red Army."
After the Second World War, the name changed again in 1946 to Day of the Soviet Army and Navy.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the holiday's name was changed to its current name.