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9 May - a Victory Day (Den Pobedy).

May 9 marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War, which was called Great Partiotic War in the USSR. Victory Day commemorates all those who died in WWII and pays tribute to the survived ones.
The Minute of Silence is announced on the radio and TV dedicated to all those who fell during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 fighting Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Today and traditionally, ceremonial military parades are held on the day, such as the one in Moscow on the Red Square.

The history of the Victory Day holiday

9 May as a official holiday was introduced in 1945, however it's celebration countrywide started 2 decades later. It also became a non-labour day in Russian in 1965. For some time after the collapse of the USSR military parades in honour of the Victory Day did not take place, however this tradition was renewed in 1995 when Russians celebrated 50th anniversary of the Victory. The traditional celebration includes meeting of war veterans, laying wreathes by the monuments of the Great patriotic war, fireworks.

Some countries of the FSU (Former Soviet Union) try to rewrite the history and make political profit out of those tragic events, however there is hardly a family in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus that does not keep the memories of Great Patriotic War and orders of grandfathers and great grandfathers.

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Last days of Great Patriotic War.

In April 1945 Russian troops approached Berlin frontiers. Berlin itself as well as the surrounding area was well-fortified and weaponed, ready to take part in street battles. German forces in and around Berlin counted about 1 million people, 1500 tanks, 10400 main guns and mortar-guns, 3300 units of war aviation. Fortified positions erected around Berlin made 3 circles, more then 400 concrete defensive posts with military camps up to thousand people were constructed in the city itself.. The defensive camp located in Berlin included about 200 thousand soldiers.

By the beginning of the attack, Soviet troops included 149 units in the infantry and 12 units in the cavalry, 7 mechanized corps, 15 tank brigades including 1 900 000 soldiers. Interallied Polish Army counted 10 infantry divisions, 1 tank brigade, 1 cavalry division, 155 900 soldiers in total.

Attack of the Reichstag. (Battle of Berlin).

The Soviet offensive into central Germany started in the beginning of 1945 under the command of Marshal Georgi Zhukov and Marshal Ivan Konev . The Russian advance, supported by the air force resulted in the attack of Reichstag that was lunched on 29 April 1945. Around 1 thousand people entrenched in the building of Reichstag defending it.

Fierce room-to-room battle lasted for about 2 days and on 1 May lieutenants Alexei Berest and 2 sergeants Michael Egorov and Meliton Kantaria planted the Red Flag on the top of the building of Reichstag .

Capitulation of Germany.

On 1 May Germany commander, general Hans Krebs was delivered to the command post of the Russian army to negotiate for the armistice. However Stalin refused and demanded unconditional surrender of the Germany army. Having received no reply in 10 hrs Russian army opened fire on the central part of Berlin where the defenders still held the remains of the fort. 8 hours later it became known that German command refused capitulation and the last attack on the center of Berlin was launched. By the morning of 2 May all the buildings in the center of Berlin including Reich Chancellery were occupied by the Soviet soldiers.

Victory Day Saint George Ribbon

In the night of May 2, the remains of German command started negotiations and on 8 May 1945 act of uncondtiional capitulation was finally signed by all German generals. De to the time difference between Berlin and Moscow it happened on May 9 0.43 a.m. Moscow time. This is is considered to be the end of Great Patriotic War, which formally finished on January 21 1955 when the Soviet government issued a decree to stop the state of war with Germany.

The Ribbon of St George, St.George Ribbon (Russian: Georgievskaya Lenta) constitutes one of the most recognised and respected symbols of military valour in modern Russia. It is widely associated with the commemoration of World War II and especially with the units who were awarded the collective Guard battle honours during the conflict. The ribbon consists of a black and orange bicolour pattern, with three black and two orange stripes. Its origins may be traced back to the Russian Empire.

The pattern of The Ribbon of St George is thought to symbolise fire and gunpowder. It is also thought to be derived from the colours of the original Russian imperial coat of arms (black eagle on a golden background).

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