russia_insider (russia_insider) wrote,

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Saint-Petersburg - V-day

Russian people like a joke about having an excuse for drinking alcohol every day, ‘cause there’s a holiday every single day in year. That’s partially true (: But there are basically only two greatest holidays in Russia which are celebrated at a large scale (if I can say so – language use feedback is very welcome as usual) these are New Years day and Victory day. New Years celebration usually takes from 3 to 10 days and there are about 5 days officially off work. People prepare for it long before and from 30th of December to about 10th of January it seem that life ceased in the country, there’s a very low traffic on the streets, nobody is at work and you can find crowds only at night clubs. But New Years is yet to come so I shall cover it fully later. Now I want to remember at tell you about Victory day. It’s celebrated on 9th of May, the day when Hitler’s Germany capitulated and it was official end of war with Germany which is widely known as World War II and in Russia is called 2nd Great Patriotic War (the first one was with Napoleon France). It is truly a all nation holiday because there’s hardly a family in Russia who’s grandparents haven’t participated. People older than 25-30 years old remember people who were telling what it was like. Stern old men, who were sometimes crying when speaking. But the worst thing is that as time passes those who saw horrors of war they pass away as well, and youth, they don’t have an opportunity to feel how the war was dreadful through perception whose who really saw it. Now the holyday slowly becomes a symbol without a feeling, probably like Columbus day in States. That’s not a good thing. Because people start to forget. That’s why I took an opportunity this year and went to Saint-Petersburg.


In Soviet Union times it was called Leningrad (City of Lenin). During World War II, Leningrad was surrounded and besieged by the German army Wehrmacht from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944, a total of 29 months. By Hitler's order the Wehrmacht constantly shelled and bombed the city and systematically isolated it from any supplies, causing death of more than 1 million civilians in 3 years; 1942 alone saw 650,000 people die.

So the Victory day in Saint-Petersburg is even more esteemed than in other Russian cities. So I went there to see a Victory Day parade and thanks to my friend who is a photographer I was able to get a permit for shooting. I could take pictures of a very few people who so the War with they're own eyes. In a few years there will not left such people.
I hope you will get at least some part of the feeling of that day.

We started taking pictures at the place where parade was formed befor the start of procession. People were gathering and we could see somewar comrades who have an opporunity to see each other maybe only once a year. It was very moving.

It was a long and difficult process of files formation. The weather was pretty gloomy and it was raining occasionally, but it was a good thing in a way, because it's a holiday with tears.

Many veterans were not able to walt and were placed in military trucks, but most of them were marching with straight backs. These people are really strong.

Formed in files parade went through Nevsky avenue, main street of big city. Lot's of people gathered to see the heroes. At each intersection people were applauding and loudly greeting veterans. Kids were braking through safety cordons and bringing flowers to old men marching along.

Tags: parade, photo, pics, russia, saint-petersburg, victory, war

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