Every year the annual celebration of Victory Day gets even better. We get goosebumps around the events and will try to relay some of the highlights each day.
The exact date is 9 May, but today and tomorrow foreign dignitaries will begin arriving in Moscow. Although large celebrations are staged each year in Kyiv (Kiev) and Minsk, as well as thousands of towns and villages across the whole FSU, it is customary for the President of Ukraine and Belarus to put in a brief appearance in Moscow before quickly flying back to their respective capitals.
If you’d like to watch the parade in Moscow, the Voice of Russia will broadcast a live video stream at this link: http://english.ruvr.ru/video
Preparations for the event are literally year-round but military troops have been using a practice stadium in a Moscow suburb for a couple of months to practice every parade step and vehicle movement down to the last detail. Today the parade was moved onto Red Square for an extensive rehearsal and that is how most Russians get to see it live as on the 9th the area will be off limits to anyone without a special Kremlin issued pass.
In all, over 11,000 military personnel will march on May 9. Units will represent the Russian Army infantry, the Air Force, the Navy, as well as battalions of Aerospace Defense and Strategic Missile Forces. The President of the Russian Federation will deliver a short speech and traditionally in attendance is the German head of state.
Most Western European countries observe the event on May 8, but due to having no officially recognized representation at the first signing of surrender it was past midnight on 9 May in Moscow when Marshall Zhukov was present to witness the German surrender being signed.