Russia celebrates Victory Day

May 9th represents one of Russia's most celebrated holidays, the Victory of Soviet Russia over Nazi Germany in World War II. 25 million Russians died in the struggle, millions poor than even the Polish, Japanese (who suffered two nuclear bombs) or the Germans themselves. As for the Russians' Allies, the Brits and the Americans, they lost 400,000 and 500,000 people respectively.

The sheer scale of the Russians suffering during the war - this was the nation that endured the siege of Lenigrad, the horrors of Stalingrad and many more battles besides - may have been forgotten in the West but not here in the homeland. Over 100,000 Muscovites came out to celebrate yesterday in what was the 61st VE-Day anniversary.

Over 70,000 people gathered on Poklonnaya Hill and another 15,000 came to Gorky Park, a city police source told the Itar-Tass news agency. Another 12,000 people celebrated on Red Square, over 4,000 on Tverskaya Street, and around 2,500 on Teatralnaya Square.

Everything is quiet. The celebrating people are in good mood, and no serious incidents have happened, the source reported yesterday.

Meanwhile in St. Petersburg, 10,000 came out to see a military parade of over 400 soldiers, and to cheer veterans of the 900-day Leningrad siege. Many more citizens marched in the streets, seizing the opportunity to join in the celebrations with the customary drinking of beers and setting off of firecrackers.


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