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4 May, 2007 15:25

Russia prepares for Victory Day celebrations

Russia prepares for Victory Day celebrations

The defeat of Nazi forces in 1945 is marked in Russia on May 9, and is called Victory Day – a sacred day for Russians. Several days ahead of the event, preparations are underway throughout the country.

Posters and banners have been mounted in Moscow’s centre. Symbols are being displayed in shop windows and building facades. The ribbon of Saint George – one of the most recognised and respected symbols of military valour in modern Russia – is handed out to the people.

At Kubinka airbase near Moscow two aerobatic teams including the best Russian pilots – the Russian Knights and the Swifts – are involved in full-on training ahead of flying over Moscow's Red Square on May 9.

In a couple of days nine fighter jets will perform manoeuvres at an altitude of about 400 M, at speeds of 600 KPH. For many of these pilots, flying over Red Square on May 9 is one of the most important landmarks of their career.

Around 160 events will be held in Russia's capital during this year's celebrations, on the 62nd anniversary of the Victory.

Victory Day is a national holiday of major significance as few families were untouched by the years of fighting. The parade on Red Square is traditionally the highlight of Victory Day celebrations. Last year, almost 6,000 servicemen took part in the event.

However, each time the number of veterans who come out on the streets to celebrate decreases.