On May 9th 1945 German forces offered their unconditional surrender to the allied powers, officially ending the Great Patriotic War in Europe. The day known as Victory Day is the single most important holiday in many post-Soviet states, mainly Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Below are some images of these celebrations this year and for previous years. The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly hindered the planned celebrations, so this year they were quite unconventional and interesting.
To understand why this war is so important in the collective memory of the former USSR, I recommend checking out one of my previous post dealing with the human and economic cost of the war on the Soviet Union.
I will start with Belarus, mainly because their celebrations have been the most impressive in my eyes. While most countries of the world have completely shut down President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to impose the same restrictions on Belarus. This was for a host of reasons which are unfortunately beyond the scope of this post. One of the most defiant acts committed by Belarus, was the holding of the Victory Day Parade in Minsk. Traditionally held in most Post-Soviet capitals, including Moscow, Nur-Sultan(Astana), Kyiv and others, the parade had been canceled due to the Corona virus. However, president Lukashenko decided to go ahead with the parade, and it was quite a spectacle. Some images as well as the link are below.
In Russia most official celebrations were canceled, however many citizens took it in their own hands to celebrate this sacred holiday in isolation.
I am now going to share a few things I found on twitter, which show how many ordinary people celebrated their holiday, unsurprisingly with friends and family.
I hope you enjoyed the images of people celebrating this important day. While there is much I could talk about in this post regarding Victory Day and its legacy in Russia and in the West today, I will leave that for another time. I will instead spend this day appreciating everyone around me and remembering and respecting the sacrifice of millions of Soviets, Communist, Americans, British, French, and many many more. The heavy price they all had to pay will never be forgotten.