Russia celebrates WWII Victory Day with traditional grand military parade in Moscow (FULL VIDEO)
World War II is often called the Great Patriotic War in Russia, and May 9 is one of the country’s most revered holidays.
More than 12,000 uniformed soldiers, military police officers, national guardsmen and cadets marched through Red Square on Sunday shortly after a moment of silence was observed in honor of the millions killed in the war.
The number of participants was slightly scaled-down compared to last year when Russia marked the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies.
The victory in World War II played a “colossal historic role for the fate of the whole world,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his address.
“We will always remember that it was the Soviet people who had done this great act of bravery,” Putin said. He noted that the unity and courage of Soviet citizens ultimately led them to “accomplish what was thought to be impossible – vanquishing a merciless enemy… and unequivocally defeating Nazism.”
One of the traditional elements of the parade is the Victory Banner – the iconic red flag that was raised by the Soviet Red Army soldiers on the Reichstag building in Berlin on May 1, 1945.
The audience also saw the legendary Soviet T-34/85 tanks that fought the German Wehrmacht troops.
More than 190 pieces of military hardware rolled through Red Square, including the newest T90M Proryv and T-14 Armata main battle tanks, Kurganets-25 tracked infantry fighting vehicles and Boomerang amphibious armored personnel carriers.
The military also showcased Uran-9 ‘robo-tanks’ – remote-controlled ground combat machines that were used in Syria.
Typhoon-PVO armored vehicles took part in the parade for the first time. They are tailored for transporting anti-aircraft units and armed with a powerful machine gun to repel ground and aerial attacks.
Other state-of-the-art weapons shown during the parade included Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile systems, which have a range of up to 500km (310 miles) and can strike targets with great precision.
S-400 air defense missile systems also made their way to Red Square. They can engage with aerial targets at a range of up to 400km and ballistic missiles up to 60km away.
Along with military parades, Victory Day is traditionally marked with a massive civilian march called the Immortal Regiment, which sees people carrying portraits of their relatives who fought and defeated the Nazis during the war.
It was first held in the Siberian city of Tomsk in 2012, and the ceremony quickly spread to other cities in the country and abroad, with millions of participants.
In 2020, the massive commemorative event was held remotely in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This year, the organizers ruled that the epidemiological situation still wasn't good enough for the march to return in an offline form.
Instead, the images of the heroes can be accessed on the Immortal Regiment's official website and on social media. In Moscow, they are being displayed on more than 200 digital screens across the city.
Elsewhere in the world, groups of people with portraits marched in the streets of Berlin, Madrid, New York, and other cities. A similar event was also organized at the Russian Air Force base in Khmeimim, Syria.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!