Парад, посвящённый 65-летию Победы в Великой Отечественной войне (Russian): http://www.kremlin.ru/video/404Military Parade in Moscow on Victory Day 2010 - Part 1 (English): http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/7/bxPAdmlZCHI
Military Parade in Moscow on Victory Day 2010 - Part 2 (English): http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/6/qoLKsB1z5Ak
Parade in 2010 (full version, part 9 of 10): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn8Kkvf3VLE&feature=related
Medvedev: Peace is 'still fragile'
On May 9, Russia will celebrate the 65th anniversary of V-E Day, commemorating the allied victory in Europe during World War II. For Russians, the celebration marks the time when the Soviet Union “liberated” Central and Eastern Europe from Nazi rule and was thereby legitimized as a global leader and powerful force with which the rest of the world would have to reckon.
During the Soviet era, the holiday was one of the Soviet Union’s largest, celebrated with foreign dignitaries from around the world and the full spectrum of Soviet military hardware passing across Red Square. But V-E Day became bittersweet after the fall of the Soviet Union, since it served as a reminder of how far Russia had fallen since its post-war heyday, its sphere of influence leaking satellite states like a sieve throughout the early 1990s. The holiday continued to be celebrated in Russia but without the enormous pomp and circumstance.
But the glorious past behind the holiday started to return in 2005. Then-Russian President Vladimir Putin was in power, and his overall objective was to return Russia to its status as a “great power.” Putin’s goals were to first consolidate Russia internally and then push the country back out to its more comfortable Soviet-era borders — whether formally or informally. From 2000 to 2005, Putin meticulously worked on the first part of this plan, consolidating government control over energy, restructuring the government, purging powerful classes like the oligarchs, beginning to rebuild the military and engaging in the second Chechen War.
In 2005, on the 60th anniversary of V-E Day, Russia celebrated its re-stabilization by rolling out the full military panoply and inviting heads of state from around the world, from countries like Germany, France, Poland and China. The world did take notice that Russia was stronger and more internally stable, but it was not clear then that it could pull off its grander designs of resurging past its borders.
Russia also is looking to show other powers and former client states in the region that it cannot be ignored. This is why it is important that the list of guests coming to Moscow for V-E Day includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Polish interim President Bronislaw Komorowski, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Serbian President Boris Tadic, Greek President Karolos Papoulias and most of the leaders from the former Soviet states. These are the states that Russia is hoping to prove itself to, ally with or control at some point in the future. More than anything, this V-E Day celebration in Russia is its declaration of these intentions.
Video of president Sargsyan’s interview with Russian media (in Russian): http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=271407
On the eve of the celebration Sargsyan visited the grave of Armenian Marshal Hovhannes Baghramyan at the Kremlin wall in Red Square. Baghramyan, a Soviet military commander who made a major contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1941-1945, was one of four Armenian Marshals of the Soviet Union, the USSR’s highest military rank, along with Hamazasp Babajanyan, Armenak Khanperyants (Sergey Khudyakov) and [Navy Admiral] Hovhannes Isakov. Sargsyan also talked about the contribution of Armenians in the 1945 victory in an interview with Russia-24 news channel. He said that the post-war generations in Armenia had been brought up on the examples of 119 Heroes of the Soviet Union and 27 holders of all three degrees of the Order of Glory that the former Soviet republic produced during the years of the Great Patriotic War.
“A generation of Armenians that had experienced the inhuman atrocities of the 1915 Armenian Genocide took part in that war. And it was not accidental that Armenians were fighting against fascism not only in the [Red] Army and in the [Soviet] rear, but also in resistance movements and a number of troops of the anti-Hitler coalition,” Sargsyan underlined. The Armenian leader called it a ‘great honor and responsibility’ to be in Moscow and see Armenian servicemen march at the parade along with counterparts from other former Soviet republics. “This symbolizes the unity that we had,” he said.
For the first time since Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, national contingents from former Soviet republics, including Armenia, and WWII Allies joined Russian forces in the annual May 9 parade on Moscow's Red Square. Leaders of China, Germany, Israel, a number of Eastern European states, as well as former Soviet republics, including Armenia's president Serge Sargsyan, watched the parade together with Russian leaders. More than half a million Armenians served in the Soviet and other Allied armed forces during World War II, with some 200,000 losing their lives in humanity's deadliest conflict. Several dozen WWII veterans from Armenia (including Karabakh) joined fellow vets from other Soviet republics in Moscow for the occasion. May 9 is a public holiday in Armenia, marking both the victory in WWII in 1945 and the 1992 capture of Shushi, a key turning point in the Karabakh war. In his holiday message, Pres. Sargsyan said the coincidence of two events was "determined by destiny" and that taking of Shushi "was our response to those, who had unleashed ethnic cleansing, pogroms and war against our people." "The Armenian nation is resolute to live free, and we will not tolerate any kind of violence against us," he added.
Historical legacy and symbolism
“Our people saved nothing for that victory,” he said. “We suffered numerous casualties, whose memory will be kept alive by our children as well. We had heroes and military leaders, whose exploits will inspire the current and future generations as examples of patriotism and the art of warfare.”
At least 320,000 residents of Armenia, then a republic of less than 1 million people, were drafted to the Soviet army during the bloodiest war in the history of humankind. The total number of its Soviet Armenian participants is estimated at more than 500,000. Only just over half of them returned home alive. The overall number of Soviet citizens killed in the war totaled a staggering 26 million. More than 8.5 million of them were soldiers. The number of surviving war veterans has shrunk rapidly in the past few decades. Only about 3,700 veterans remain alive in Armenia at the moment. Hundreds of them were at the center of rare public attention on Sunday in Yerevan’s Victory Park, the main venue of V-Day celebrations in the country. With wartime medals decorating their chests, the silently filed past the eternal fire of the war memorial to pay their respects to their fallen comrades.
Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and other top Armenian officials as well as representatives of foreign diplomatic missions in Yerevan laid flowers by the fire in the morning. Scores of ordinary Armenians did so throughout the day. President Sarkisian, meanwhile, was in Moscow, attending official ceremonies there marking the victory anniversary together with fellow heads of state from almost all ex-Soviet republics, several European countries and China. The culmination of the celebrations was Russia’s biggest military parade since the break-up of the Soviet Union staged on Red Square.
“Sixty-five years ago, Nazism was defeated and a machine that was exterminating whole peoples was halted,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a speech preceding the impressive display of his country’s military might. “There was one choice -- either victory or to become slaves.”
The parade also featured troops from several other ex-Soviet nations, including Armenia, as well as the United States, Britain and France, Moscow’s WWII allies. In a moment of great symbolism, an Armenian army company that goose-stepped in the vast square was led by a grandson of Sergei Khudyakov (born Armenak Khanferiants), a Soviet Air Force marshal who played a prominent role in the war. Sarkisian sent wreathes to the Moscow graves of Khudyakov, Marshal Hamazasp Babajanian and Admiral Ivan Isakov (born Hovannes Ter-Isahakian) on Saturday. He also made a point of visiting the tomb of the Red Army’s most famous ethnic Armenian commander, Marshal Ivan Baghramian. The latter was buried under the Kremlin wall facing Red Square.