Today was “Victory Day” i.e the 66th Anniversary of the day Russia won the Great Patriotic War (WWII). The whole day was in fact extremely patriotic! The celebrations kicked of with a parade at 10am which we attempted to attend but due to the fact Russia’s entire population seemed to be in St Petersburg, we couldn’t see a thing.
The main event was the Veterans parade at 5pm. It begun with the army parading down Nevskii Prospect followed by a brass band, then followed the veterans.
The master of ceremonies announced their regiments and they were cheered by the audience as they went past and children went up to give them flowers. Some of them marched in their uniforms and some went past in military vehicles and just waved: they were all clearly very emotional!
The whole atmostphere was pretty overwhelming. Everyone was so patriotic: even the children were thanking the veterans for what they had done, people were clapping and cheering and shouting out what a great victory it was.
Also, as the war was during the Soviet era it is considered a triumph of communism and the Soviet Government. We were suprised to see soviet flags hung in the streets and people waving them at the parade as it is quite a controversial topic, but a lot of people seemed to support communism: a man next to us who had the red soviet flag was approached by one of the veternans from the parade who shook his hand and thanked him for waving the flag! However, after the parade of the veterans came a parade of communist supporters, we were unsure why they were allowed to march, perhaps it was a particular regiment of the army but they walked down nevskii brandishing flags and portraits of Lenin and Stalin. Quite a few people left the sidelines and stopped watching the parade at this point but there was no protest. Jen and I managed to get under the barrier and stand with the policemen on gaurd to take photos and a little old lady next to us was, very emotionally, shouting out to the parade how wonderful it was they had Stalin’s picture and how wonderful communism was. With everyone getting so worked up, waving their flags, cheering, chanting and waving pictures of leaders we could almost imagine ourselves being in communist Russia: and it was scary!
After the parade I joined on the end as it was the quickest way or working my way home up Nevskii! There were so many people it took a very long time. On the way I saw this plaque which I had never noticed before:
Thought it was interesting!