In the United States, federal holidays designated to remember the contributions of the armed forces are usually treated as relatively solemn affairs: national moments set for respect, reflection and, in the case of three-day weekends, some mild to moderate consumption of grilled meat and alcoholic beverages.
But Russian celebrations of military history are less sober — literally.
That’s the main lesson from a bizarre Russian news segment on the country’s celebration of Airborne Forces Day on August 2, and flagged on Twitter by longtime Russia journalist Max Seddon.
While reporting for state-run TV network NTV from Gorky Park in Moscow, the site of the Russian military’s first parachute jump in 1930, correspondent Nikita Razvozzhayev was interrupted by a drunken passerby; when Razvozzhayev politely shooed him away with a “please,” the drunk Russian apparently offered up a battle cry of “We will seize Ukraine!” before doling out a knuckle sandwich:
Russian TV's live broadcast from Paratroopers' Day is interrupted by a drunk paratrooper. The inevitable ensues pic.twitter.com/FboPfaDFZT
— max seddon (@maxseddon) August 2, 2017
“It is worth noting that the attack occurred at a time when Nikita was explaining why the Airborne Forces are called ‘elite’ troops,” NTV explained in a follow-up report on the incident.
Many assumed the drunk Russian was himself a member of the airborne forces based on his presence in Gorky Park; according to Russia Beyond The Headlines, current and former paratroopers (as well as civilians) mark Airborne Forces Day by “wandering the city streets and parks” and, “often in an inebriated state … frolic in Moscow’s fountains and pick fights with unfortunate passersby. Some fountains are turned off in a number of Russian cities to stop the madness.”
But apparently, the drunk Russian in question, detained by police shortly after the attack, was just some fucking jabroni with a bit too much piss and vinegar in his system, according to NTV. The dudes in the background are a whole other story:
Dude in back is sporting the Tran-Am chest hair pic.twitter.com/fsBxKid5Mg
— Dusty (@DustinGiebel) August 2, 2017
Oh, Russia. Never change. Stay the fuck out of our democracy, but never change.