Support The Moscow Times!

Russians Deride ‘Western Excess,’ Declare Love for Putin on Valentine’s Day


While much of the world is celebrating Valentine’s Day with cards, chocolates and flowers, some in Russia have seized on current geopolitical tensions to undermine the romantic holiday and paint it as an example of Western “excess.”

Soon after being disqualified from the presidential election, Communists of Russia party chairman Sergei Malinkovich urged lawmakers to “launch a legislative attack on the excessive and dubious holiday,” according to the RTVI broadcaster.

Like officials before him, Malinkovich claimed that Valentine’s Day was “imposed by Western media” while Russian businesses “impose their tasteless products on citizens.”

“We can’t allow traders to sell hearts on every corner, a human heart is not a commodity,” he was quoted as saying in a letter to the lower-house State Duma.

The state-run TASS news agency quoted several religious leaders as saying that the holiday is “alien to Russia.”

“Feb. 14 according to the Western European calendar is the moment when spring arrives,” said Hieromonk Macarius from the Russian Orthodox Church.

“That’s why the date was associated with family and marriage. Then they forgot about marriage and it all became associated with extramarital relations,” he added.

But the day of love was not lost on the republic of Tatarstan, where car enthusiasts organized a mini rally in honor of President Vladimir Putin.

Three white BMWs were filmed crossing the frozen Volga River with the phrase “We Heart Putin” spelled out in letters taped to their roofs. 

Meanwhile, the regional branch of the far-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) invited the public to speed-date its younger members in a week-long marathon that wraps up on Valentine’s Day.

The speed-dating event poster bore the image of LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky, who was famously accused of sexual harassment in 2018.


Speed dating was also initially planned at a popular public space in the neighboring republic of Bashkortostan’s capital Ufa.

But organizers scrapped it at the last minute in favor of a dance party, prompting local media to question whether critics of Valentine’s Day had a hand in the change of plans.

The Siberian city of Tyumen replaced St. Valentine’s Day with St. Tryphon Day, honoring the patron saint of gardeners and winegrowers.

On Feb. 17, Tyumen’s Peasant Life History Museum plans to organize folk games, dances and sledding to replicate “Lover’s Day” celebrated in medieval Russia under the Kyivan Rus’.

Public polling indicates that less than 40% of Russians planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more