As Moscow prepares for its most important annual event, here are some interesting facts you should know about the Victory Day Parade.
1. The First Parade Was Not in May
Despite May 9 being considered the day of victory against Nazi Germany, the first Victory Parade took place on June 24, 1945. In 1949, May 9 stopped being a holiday. It was only 20 years after the victory itself, in 1965, that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev declared May 9 a national holiday again and ordered a military parade. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the parades were not held until 1995 when the tradition was restored, but without military vehicles. Only in 2008 did military vehicles again take part in the parade, as did military aircraft.
2. The Banner of Victory only once made it to Red Square.
The famous original Victory Banner, raised above Berlin’s Reichstag in 1945, has only once been at the Red Square military parade — and it was not in 1945. Initially, the four soldiers who raised the banner over the Reichstag were supposed to carry it during the 1945 victory parade, but it turned out that, being preoccupied with actual war, the four did not receive adequate marching training; it was considered inappropriate to call any other people for this job, so the banner was not carried at all. The four did carry the original banner in 1965, though, when Khrushchev resurrected the parade tradition. Since then, the original banner is kept in a special sarcophagus…