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International Women's Day in Russia
Women residing on post-Soviet space still consider March 8, the International Women's Day, their holiday. The history of the International Women's Day is traditionally tied to the name of famous female revolutionary Clara Zetkin. In 1910, during the Copenhagen International Women's Conference, she announced the idea of celebrating March 8 every year as the "birthday of female proletariat." Kiev March 8 is proclaimed a public holiday in Ukraine. According to the majority of Ukrainians, the State Customs Service gave Ukrainian women the biggest "present" by introducing new customs duty evaluation standards on imported flowers. As a result, retail prices for the largest Latin American roses may go up from $2.5 per flower to $10-$11. No official March 8 celebrations with participation of state leaders are planned in Kiev, although the president and other state officials will congratulate Ukrainian women on the occasion of the holiday. Worth notice is the trend among Ukrainian male population to increase the amount of money are willing (or forced) to spend on presents for women. If a couple of years ago a present worth $2-3 was considered moderate, today it might offend women. Although, the majority of women still claim that the price of a present does not matter; what is really important is who gives them presents. Minsk March 8 is officially celebrated on a large scale. Following the tradition, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko addressed Belarussian women with a congratulatory statement. On occasion of the holiday, Belarussian manufacturers of cosmetics, confectionery and perfumes increased the volumes of supplies to the retail outlets of the republic. In addition, hot-bed flower farms specialized in decorative flowers supplied retail chains with a record amount of flowers. Chisinau This year, March 8, celebrated in Moldova as "a red date of the calendar," has its specifics. It nearly coincides with March 6 parliamentary elections in the country; therefore, the majority of men in Moldova, including the president, started to congratulate their female colleagues in advance. There is no doubt that the celebration of March 8 holiday sharply increased the rating of men's affection toward women, judging by empty flower sales stalls and happy female faces on the streets of Chisinau. In addition, there is another important occasion to celebrate. In January 2005, Moldavian women gave birth to 2,962 babies - 6.5% more than in January 2004, which means that Love - the major party of life -- rules in Moldavia on that day, despite parliamentary elections and related public unrest. Baku Azerbaijan officially celebrates March 8 as the International Women's Day. On this day, men give women various presents. Flowers are the most popular among them. According to local tradition, which is not really popular among men, prices for flowers, especially roses, are twice higher on the eve and during the holiday than on regular days. Women also receive jewelry, souvenirs and perfumes as presents. Contrary to flower prices, those for perfumes decrease during the holidays. Yerevan In 1991, the new Armenian leadership - the All-Armenian National Movement - decided to throw anything that relates to Communist and Soviet past of the country to the gutters of history and immediately abolished March 8 as the International Women's Day, announcing April 7 as the Day of Motherhood and Beauty, instead. Women only benefited from that decision, because they continued to celebrate both holidays. Men were at a loss, though. They could not figure out what was better - to forget about March 8, or to ignore April 7. As a result, since then, the Armenians celebrate two holidays, one as a tradition and another as an official holiday. Tbilisi The Georgian Parliament proclaimed the International Women's Day, on March 8, a stateholiday and an official day-off only on March 2, 2002. At the beginning of its independence, first Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia decided to substitute the International Women's Day with a new holiday - the Mother's Day - on March 3. However, despite the official abolishment of the holiday, Georgian women continued to celebrate the International Women's Day, and on March 8 men always presented women with flowers and souvenirs. Since 2002, Georgia has been celebrating both holidays - the Mother's Day and the International Women's Day. Astana Kazakhstan celebrates March 8 as the International Women's Day. It is an official holiday in the republic. Traditionally, on the eve of the International Women's Day, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev holds an official reception at his residence in the capital, inviting women from all regions of the republic. More than 150 non-governmental women's organizations conduct their activities on the territory of the republic. Kazakstan has joined international conventions on the protection of family, women's and children's rights. Tashkent On March 6, a solemn meeting of female veterans of the Great Patriotic War, dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of the Great Victory and the International Women's Day was held in Tashkent. Head of representative office of the Russian Center for international scientific and cultural cooperation under the Russian Foreign Ministry Tatyana Mishukovskaya told RIA Novosti correspondent, "the meeting is part of a series of events dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of the Great Victory." About 100 female veterans gathered at the meeting. Women were invited to attend a concert specifically dedicated to the International Women's Day after the conclusion of the official part of the meeting.
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