Monday, May 5, 2008

In Which We Attend a Dress Rehearsal

Friday, May 9, is Victory Day in Russia. It commemorates the Allied victory over Nazi Germany and those who died during World War II. The Russians lay flowers and wreaths on wartime graves on this day, and veterans come out into the streets wearing their military orders and medals. During the Soviet era, a military parade was always held in Moscow to celebrate the day, but, for some reason, this has not occurred since the breakup of the USSR.

Until this year.

So there have been several dress rehearsals with all the military vehicles including tanks, missiles, and jets, being dusted off and driven down or flown over the main streets in the center of town.

We have friends who live on the parade route, so this morning the girls and I went over to have breakfast and watch the drill. We got to see the whole thing twice: once as the procession headed down Tverskaya to Red Square, and then again as it all returned to the depot. In between, a brigade of street cleaning trucks came through and washed off the streets.

From our friends' kitchen window, we couldn't see the jets and bombers. But on Friday we will watch the whole thing from the street and should see them then. Below is a banner and a sign announcing the May 9 festivities.

So we started from our friends' fifth floor apartment. The noise was terrific, and we could feel the vibrations through the building.

Big missiles.

BIGGER missiles!

And then they cleaned up.

Then we went down to the street and watched again as they came back from Red Square.

The city workers look on. Everyone was taking photos with cameras and phones.

We made a sport out of getting the soldiers to wave to us. Many of them did.

Then they cleaned up again.

All the street cleaning trucks had been waiting at the corner.


Luna said...

Lucky you! The dress rehearsals are usually better than the real thing. Everything looks the same, but you don't have the horrendous crowds to deal with.

Where are the pics?? :)

elektrokuhinja said...

I'm so happy I found this blog! I'm moving to Moscow in three days, and now I'm reading everything I can about the city. Btw, I bumped on your blog via expat forum.

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