The decision to hold the first victory parade was made by Stalin on May 24, 1945 after the last group of the Nazi troops had been destroyed. The parade took place on Moscow’s Red Square on June 24, 1945. Two outstanding Marshalls of the Soviet Union, Georgy Zhukov and Konstantin Rokossovsky, were appointed to review the troops.
Eyewitnesses said that Joseph Stalin was originally going to review the troops himself, but he later changed his mind. They said that he preferred not to take a risky horseback ride. Preparations to the parade turned out to be rather troublesome. The General Staff was supposed to handpick 40,000 most prominent military men and send them and military hardware to Moscow. All the people had to be accommodated and dressed up for the parade. The uniforms were made by Bolshevichka, a well-known clothing factory, which still exists nowadays making fine quality men’s suits and clothes.
The paving blocks on the square were covered with a layer of sand and sawdust not to let horses slip in case of rainy weather. The Fountain of Winners rising 26 meters up was installed on Red Square in honor of the parade. Afterwards, the fountain was dismantled – the authorities found it ridiculous to have on the square.
The 65th Victory Parade, which is going to take place on May 9 2010, will be both an international and all-Russian parade. Parades will take place in dozens of cities of the former USSR, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Odessa, Kerch, Sevastopol, Murmansk, Volgograd, Tula, Minsk, Brest, Novorossiisk, Smolensk, Astrakhan, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhni Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Chita, Khabarovsk and others.
Legendary T-34 tanks, Katyusha missiles systems and Su-100 self-propelled vehicles will roll on the square after the march of Russian troops. Organizers hoped that it would be possible to see war-time Soviet aircraft in the sky above Moscow, but specialists advised not to take such risks.
Over 110 units of Russia’s state-of-the-art military hardware will be demonstrated during the parade too. Russia’s renowned Topol-M missile complexes will appear without nuclear warheads and will have their imitations instead.
Good old T-90 tanks, Msta-S self-propelled artillery systems, BMP-4, BMD-4 and BTR-90 armored vehicles, Iskander-M tactical systems, S-300 Favorit and S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft complexes will be on display too.
Over 150 modern combat planes and helicopters will fly above Red Square on May 9. Lucky viewers will have a chance to see strategic bombers T-95 and Tu-160, Tu-22M3 supersonic aircraft and Il-78 tanker aircraft, not to mention renowned Russian fighter jets and bombers.
Nearly 1,000 veterans from all republics of the former USSR will arrive in Moscow to view the parade on Red Square. The tribunes for them have already been erected along the Kremlin wall.
The leaders of Bulgaria, Vietnam, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, China, Macedonia, Mongolia, Serbia, Slovakia, France, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia and many other countries will arrive in Moscow for festive celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the victory.
The leaders of Ukraine, Belarus, the USA and Britain will not be able to come to Russia for personal reasons. The politicians referred to busy schedules.
Moldova ’s acting president Mikhai Grimpu was very rude in his response to Russia’s invitation: “I have no ties with the Russian capital and I have nothing to do on Red Square on May 9th,” he said.
Georgia ’s Mikhail Saakashvili is the only leader of post-Soviet republics who did not receive an invitation to Moscow.
Military men from the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition – the USA, Britain and France – will also take part in the parade.
The total number of military men participating in the parade exceeds 10,000 people, which is 2,500 more than in 2009. The parade will last for 80 minutes instead of traditional 60.
The budget of the parade has been preliminarily evaluated at 1.2 billion rubles.
It is worthy of note that Moscow’s Red Square will be closed for capital repairs and reconstruction after the Victory Day. The works will last for more than a year. The next military parade in Moscow will reportedly take place only in 2015 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory.
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