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Moscow parade marks WWII victory over Germany


05-09-2014 13:04 BJT

Russia's Victory Day on May the 9th marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. It’s now become one of Russia’s biggest public holidays, and, despite the cold war ending more than 20 years ago, remains an opportunity for Russia to show off its military might.

The Soviet Union formally announced victory over Nazi Germany on May the 9th, 1945, following the signing of a surrender document in Berlin.

The first military parade at Moscow’s Red Square took place just 6 weeks later, by order of then Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

All Soviet troops that participated in World World Two attended the parade. In a famous show of symbolism, more than 200 veterans threw Nazi flags into the cemetery of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.

Since then, there’ve been parades on Red Square every year on May the 9th, apart from four years in the early nineteen nineties, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting economic recession.

2005 saw grand celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the war. That day, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech, declaring war on terrorism.

Heavy weaponry that had not been seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union was on show again in 2008, just two days after Dmitry Medvedev took office as President.

2010 saw the biggest display of Russia’s military hardware in 20 years, to mark the 65th anniversary. Some 160 modern military vehicles, including the Topol-M ground-based missile launcher, the Pantsir-S air defense system, and the the S-400 Triumph remote air defense missile system rolled through the Moscow square. More than 11 thousand troops took part in the march.

And in 2013, the Russian air force became one of the highlights of the parade, with a flyover by 68 planes to mark the 68th anniversary. Russia’s Su-34 fighter jet also made its debut in the parade.

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