On Wednesday, Russia commemorated the 67th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, with a massive military parade in Moscow. The hour long ceremony was akin to the old May Day and Victory Day rallies held by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
During the 1990s the Yeltsin government did not regularly hold the celebrations, preferring to demonstrate a softer image to the World. The ceremonies were permanently reinstated by Russian President Putin in 2005 — the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s World War II victory. The 2005 Victory Day parade was the largest public military display by Russia since the apparent collapse of the Soviet Union.
Soviet emblems, including hammer and sickles and a giant replica of the Soviet Order of Victory, which bears the letters CCCP — the Cyrillic abbreviation for USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), adorned the Kremlin and surrounding buildings as roughly 11,000 Russian troops and armored vehicles paraded down Red Square.
In addition to troops from all branches of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, troops from other former Soviet republics marched along with their Russian comrades.
“For the last 20 years former USSR countries have developed [their] own traditions and holidays, but there is still this day — May 9 — which unifies all of them. This is a unique holiday for Russia, as it is the day when Russia discovered own national identity. After the war the people closed the ranks as a single nation,” said Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov.
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Photo: Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system transporters roll down the Red Square, in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2012, during the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany: AP Images