Monday, 16 May 2011

День Победы / Victory Day

The 9th of May is the anniversary of when the Soviet Union won World War II. Yes, that is correct, the Soviet Union won World War II. I don't know why nobody ever told us this at school. I was warned before I came to Russia not to tell Russians that the Allies won World War II, as it would cause great distress. But the Russians call it the Great Patriotic War and this war started in 1941, so perhaps we won this Second World War and they won this other, completely unrelated Patriotic War? This is clearly the only logical explanation.

Anyway, Victory Day is a day of celebration for all Russians and citizens of post-Soviet states. Parades and marches take place all across the Russian Federation and veterans are congratulated and thanked for their contribution. There is a much more distinct atmosphere of patriotism amongst young Russians in particular than in any European country I have visited, perhaps due to an initiative introduced by Putin in 2005 which encouraged youths to celebrate military victories as a means of restoring patriotism as the spiritual backbone of Russia. The celebrations in Krasnodar were perhaps slightly less elaborate than in Moscow, but the overwhelming sentiment of gratitude, remembrance and patriotic pride were in no way diminished by this. 

Photos courtesy of Paparazzo Sam, who has not quite given his permission for their use as of yet, but will surely be moved by my tribute to his photographic skills.

Various political parties marched down the main street after the main military parade - it was slightly surprising to see such an overwhelmingly large pro-Stalin Communist gathering, although it should be noted that not a single member of this group looked under 50 years of age.

The Happiest Babushka of All Time - we met her later in the day on the street. After Marina presented her with a flower, she proceeded to tell us that she was a nice Babka unlike all the other grumpy ones, that she knew that youths were nice and then sang us a song about victory day whilst cackling hysterically at regular intervals.

Lika's sister giving a flower to a veteran, as is custom. Lika's mum arrived with giant bunch of flowers in hand for us to present to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment