ДЕНЬ ПОБЕДЫ! 9 May is the Russian “Victory Day” to commerate the victory over Nazi Germany over 60 years ago. Known to Russians as the Great Patriotic War, this year’s celebration was a throw-back to the old Soviet days with a full parade of tanks, missles, warplanes and marching troops. The celebration took on such a feel that it was as if waking up only to discover that the breakup of the Soviet Union had been only a dream.
New Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his predecessor Vladimir Putin, who became prime minister, attended the annual Victory Day parade at the Moscow Red Square, on Friday, May 9, 2008. Last year’s celebration was marred by large protests against the Putin government so this year the planning was much more in evidence.
Police and elite Interior Ministry troops were everywhere wearing looks that showed they meant business. Old soldiers were everywhere and in keeping with the time honoured tradition, dressed in their military best, displaying medals won during the conflict.
Since the completion of Victory Park in 1995, the celebration has begun on Red Square and culminated in the beautiful park dedicated to the memory of the Great Patriotic War. Whether in day or night, Victory Park is designed to “flow red with blood” as a tribute to the 20 million lives lost in the Great Patriotic War (WWII). In day the flowers bloom red and at night the fountains, in a most moving and dramatic display, flow red with the aid of special lighting.
Military planes this year swept over the domes of the Annunciation Cathedral, one of the centerpiece museums of the Moscow Kremlin. The Annunciation is significant because it symbolizes the early and founding rulers of the Russian dynasty as they expanded outward, enlarging the Russian empire.