On May 9th, Russia celebrates its Victory in the Great Patriotic War (World War II)As you stand in the middle of Red Square on May 9th, close your eyes. Feel the support that echoes from the soul of every Russian, the pride that resonates up and down the historic monuments and world-famous buildings. Just as the Fourth of July stirs the heart of every American, so too does Moscow’s annual Victory Day Parade stir the heart of every Russian.
The 9th of every May strikes a wave of appreciation into onlookers the world over as one of the most important victories in history is celebrated: the victory of World War II. It as much a part of Russia as the Kremlin itself, and seeing this fantastic display of military might and appreciation is a can’t-miss for those traveling during the spring season.
When foreigners travel to Russia, many arrive with the intent of experiencing true Russian culture. They visit villages like Mandrogi and Yaroslavl to get the oft-forgotten aspects of Russia’s history. They indulge their taste buds with the best Russian cuisine such as borsch, pelmenis, and blinis. Yet no matter how many foods they eat or villages they visit, there is one event on one day that will give them more culture than the rest of their travels combined: the Victory Day Parade on May 9th.
This once-a-year celebration is a historic landmark as well as a display of modern military might. Sixty-six years ago, one of the strongest enemies the world has ever encountered was defeated under a joint effort by the Allies. Russia suffered the most lives lost during World War II, capping their death toll at nearly 30 million. The impossible victory over Germany stirs a sense of gratitude through Russia. The Victory Day Parade is a solemn but victorious affair, one in which accomplishment is recognized above tragedy.
Russia’s modern-day military embodies the country’s air of honor as they march through the famous Red Square to the beat of their own drums. Last year, for the first time ever, Russia invited foreign military powers to march alongside them. The United States, Britain, and France were the first non-Russian armies to walk alongside nationals for the Victory Day Parade. This union is still a new addition, and seeing the foreign allies stand side-by-side after more than half a century apart will move every history buff.
A recording of 2012’s Victory Day Parade can be viewed here. This news clipping gives a taste of the overall atmosphere of sovereignty and gratefulness as Russia remembers how it attained the freedom it loves today. Watching a video is sorely lacking compared to witnessing the parade in person – such an experience will infuse any journey to Russia with a flavor that cannot be found elsewhere.
If the military aspect of the Victory Day Parade interests you, we also offer a themed military tour of Russia