On this day in 1945, the Soviet Union celebrated Victory Day to mark the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. The Soviet government announced the victory in the early hours of 9 May 1945 and the holiday has been celebrated since 1946, becoming a non-labour day in 1965.
Today, citizens of Russia and former Soviet states have taken to the streets to commemorate the millions of lives that were sacrificed to defeat the Nazi invasion 69 years ago. A parade has taken place in Moscow’s Red Square as well as a huge demonstration of Russia’s military might, with Russia’s army and armaments taking to the streets for the largest and longest displays the Victory Day celebrations have ever seen. 11,000 troops, 69 military vehicles and 49 aircraft were said to have performed. President Vladimir Putin spoke at the celebrations in Moscow and said it was a day when “patriotism triumphs.”
A minute of silence is observed at 17:00 hours Russian time (15:00 GMT) to remember those who lost their lives in the conflict, before the day is ended with spectacular military salutes and fireworks. One of the greatest symbols of Victory Day in Russia is the red carnation, which is witnessed in abundance as the flowers are given to Second World War veterans and wreaths are laid at war memorial sites. However, despite the mass celebrations, Ukraine has abstained from the affair this year due to ongoing violence and conflict within the country.