The deadliest, far-fetching, and costliest war in human history, the Second World War lasted from 1 September 1939 – 2 September. The war that accounted for an unprecedented loss of lives both civilians and battlefield deaths came to an end on May 7, 1945, a week after Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife Eva Braun on 30 April 1945 in Führer bunker in Berlin. The defeated German army gave their acceptance to an unconditional surrender to the Allied forces in Reims, France.
To commemorate the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union, an annual military parade of the Russian Armed Forces on Moscow’s Red Square takes place every 9 May. This day is referred to as V-Day. Russia, then USSR, a major power who participated in the Second World War saw an overwhelming casualty of over 21 million Soviet nationals. In the end, it was due to the valiant efforts of the Soviets that the German juggernaut came to a halt. The Battle of Stalingrad, the longest of the war, became the most exceptional blunder for the Germans and its allies. It is widely believed that a significant reason behind the German defeat is the Russian resistance and sheer will power to defend their posts.
To celebrate the 75years since the defeat of Nazi Germany, Moscow Victory Day Parade planned by Russia has now been postponed due to the Corona virus pandemic. The infection also known as COVID-19 has caused a massive outbreak and global shutdown. This year’s observance was scaled back with the Red Square military parade and a mass procession deferred. Russian President Vladimir Putin laid down flowers at the Eternal Flame near the Kremlin walls, and in his brief address urged the Russians to stand together and reminded them that Russia was ‘invincible’ when united. A small air show with seventy-five jets and helicopters flying over Moscow in a single formation showcased the country’s warplanes might in this day. Various dignitaries including PM Narendra Modi were expected to attend the parade show in Moscow. Extending his greetings to Vladimir Putin, PM Modi said that India stands with Russia on the solemn day. In a tweet, PM Modi said, “India stands with Russia in solemn remembrance today, on the 75th Anniversary of Victory Day. Tens of thousands of Indian soldiers also made the supreme sacrifice in the Second World War. My warm greetings to President Putin and the Russian people on this occasion”.
Victory Day in Russia is a public holiday as the nation concomitantly remembers the martyrdom of soldiers and civilian life during the war. Following the signing of the German Instrument of Surrender on the evening of 8 May 1945, which was 9 May as per the Moscow Time, Russia, therefore, decided to celebrate Victory Day on the 9th of May every year. The Russian Federation has officially recognised 9 May since its formation in 1991 and considers it a non-working day even if it falls on a weekend. Most of the countries in Europe observe 8th May as the Victory in Europe Day. The first military parade on Red Square in honour of the defeat of Nazi Germany took place on 24 June 1945. The parade witnessed the participation of the Soviet Armed Forces and a guest appearance by the First Polish Army. This was by far the longest and largest parade in the Soviet capital that lasted hours and involved 40,000 Red Army soldiers along with 1,850 military vehicles.
The day is celebrated across Russia with great fervour and passion. However, the biggest attraction remains the parade showcasing Russia’s military forces in Moscow’s Red Square. People engage in exchanging flowers, usually red carnations to the war veterans. Schools host programs prepared by the students, featuring wartime songs and poetry. Patriot songs movies based on the events of World War II are also showcased across various platforms. Black-and-yellow ribbon, also called the St. George ribbon, is worn by the people as a sign of respect and remembrance.
The day truly helps to understand the unwavering spirit of the Russian people.