International Women's Day 2017: Russian prisons expected to hold dance and beauty contests

The convicts are expected to perform for their visiting relatives

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Russian women may have been at the forefront of the country's 1917 revolution, but almost a century on, female prisoners are expected to perform dances and take part in beauty contests to celebrate International Women's Day. 

The convicts put on the shows for visiting relatives according to Russian news agency Interfax.  

International Women’s Day holds a particular place in the country's history. 

On 8 March 1917, female textile workers started a protest in the capital of the Russian Empire Petrograd, now known as St Petersburg, demanding bread and peace.

By midday, they were joined by tens of thousands of women, calling for the end of the Czarist regime, food shortages and an end to the war.

The strikes are widely considered to be a key catalyst for the Russian Revolution, which led to the collapse of the empire, the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the foundation of the Communist state. 

Made a public holiday in the Soviet Union since 1965, modern Russia continues to come together every year to remember the importance of women in society. 

Men and women alike offer gifts, flowers are chocolate to their females friends, mothers, sisters and daughters. 

Office workers celebrate International Women’s Day, which comes before a bank holiday in the country. 

However, this year’s events are expected to be less extravagant than in previous years, when the country benefited from high oil prices. 

An human resources worker at a major Russian company, Irina, who asked not to disclose her surname, told Agence France Presse that her "company used to allocate a big budget for this holiday and took as many as 500 women out to a restaurant."

But she said "that was before the 2008 economic crisis. Now the men have a whip-round to buy us flowers and chocolates."

In recent years, social media has made women able to show off their gifts and compete about who received more flowers. 

According to the 360 TV website, women can now rent huge bouquets of roses for up to 10 minutes, just enough time to take a picture and post it on Instagram

The website reports that some took the idea even further, offering men’s shoulders and other luxury objects for rent to feature in the picture. 


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Each 10 minutes lease cost up to 1,000 rubles (£14), a price to pay for those hoping the pictures will get them hundreds of likes on social media.

President Vladimir Putin is known to respecting the tradition of celebrating the day. 

This year, he will celebrate the occasion by meeting midwives and pregnancy therapists at a centre in western Russia, according to The Kremlin’s website