Units representing all branches of the Russian armed forces paraded down the square, as the surrounding buildings, including the Kremlin, were decorated with communist Soviet-era emblems and hammer-and-sickle insignias.
Standing alongside top Russian military brass and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally oversaw the parade. There was the stereotypical goose-stepping, as a select honor guard of Russian soldiers marched under both the modern Russian flag and the red Victory Banner bearing the communist hammer and sickle.
Putin delivered the opening speech, in which he observed,
Sixty-nine years have gone by since the Great Patriotic War ended, but May 9 was and still is our biggest holiday. It is the day of our national triumph and our people’s pride.
On this day we see the overwhelming strength of patriotism and feel especially acutely what it means to be loyal to our homeland and how important it is to defend our country’s interests.
We must remain worthy of our forebears’ deeds.
Speaking to the veterans in attendance, Putin concluded,
We will look after Russia and its glorious history and will make service to our country the highest value, as it always was throughout our history. I am sure it will always be so in the future, too.
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