The 9th of May in Russia

P1170983I knew before that the 9th of May – also known as Victory day – was one of the main events of the year in Russia but I was very surprised to see in what proportion it really is!

I was travelling during this time and saw how the different cities were preparing for it. Already when I was leaving Krasnoyarsk on the 29th of April, the decorations (flags, ribbons…) had been settled down. When I went to Yeniseyck for Easter, I saw many people wearing the Saint Georges ribbon fiercely on their jackets, tied on their bags, hang it in their cars… This ribbon was used to carry the cross of Saint Georges, a military distinction, under Catherine the 2nd. It became recently a symbol – sometimes controversial – of the Victory day that people wear in Russia.

When I was in Saint Petersburg, I could assist to a rehearsal of the parade on the 5th of May. In Moscow the Red Square was totally closed when we arrived on the evening of the 6th of May and stayed close to the tourists until the 10th. Also, some military parades (with tanks and all the military equipment) were done in the streets of Moscow some days before the parade.

Finally on the 9th we were in Irkutsk and saw the parade. They were veterans, students, people with photos of their ancestors who died during the war, flowers (carnations) were exchanged…

 

(the rehearsal of the parade in Saint Petersburg)

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(parade in Irkoutsk)

Alors que nous célébrons le 8 mai la fin de la 2nde Guerre mondiale, la Russie célèbre quant à elle le jour de la victoire le 9 mai.

J’ai pu assister aux préparations de cette journée dans différentes villes et vis l’importance que cette journée prend à Russie (moi qui m’attendais à un « simple défilé » le 9). Je suis partie de Krasnoïarsk le 28 avril et les décorations avaient déjà été installées (drapeaux, rubans, pancartes, guirlandes…). Lorsque je suis allée à Ienisseïsk les gens arboraient déjà le ruban de saint Georges sur leurs vestes, sacs, rétroviseurs… Ce ruban date de l’époque de Catherine II et était alors une haute distinction militaire. Il est devenu récemment le symbole – parfois assez controversé – de cette journée « patriotique » en Russie.

A Saint Pétersbourg, une répétition du défilé eu lieu le 5 mai, à Moscou le 6 mai la place rouge avait déjà été fermée et l’est restée jusqu’au 10 mai. Des parades militaires (avec des tanks et autres armements) eurent également lieu. Finalement le 9 mai, nous étions arrivés à Irkoutsk et vu la parade dans laquelle il y avait des vétérans, des étudiants, des gens tenant les portraits de leurs ancêtres disparus durant la guerre, les gens s’offraient des œillets…

(parade in Irkoutsk)

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