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Victory Day (9 May)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Victory Day
Victory Day Parade 2005-36.jpg
Victory Day celebrations in Moscow, 9 May 2005
Official nameRussian: День Победы etc.[a 1]
Observed byRussia and some former states of Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact; Serbia, Israel
Date9 May
Next time9 May 2021 (2021-05-09)
FrequencyAnnual
Related toVictory in Europe Day

Victory Day[a 1] is a holiday that commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. It was first inaugurated in the 15[1] republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the German Instrument of Surrender late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (after midnight, thus on 9 May Moscow Time). The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin.[2] Although the official inauguration occurred in 1945, the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965, and only in certain Soviet republics.

In East Germany, 8 May was observed as Liberation Day from 1950 to 1966, and was celebrated again on the 40th anniversary in 1985. In 1975, a Soviet-style "Victory Day" was celebrated on 9 May. Since 2002, the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has observed a commemoration day known as the Day of Liberation from National Socialism, and the End of the Second World War.[3]

The Russian Federation has officially recognised 9 May since its formation in 1991 and considers it a non-working holiday even if it falls on a weekend (in which case any following Monday will be a non-working holiday). The holiday was similarly celebrated there while the country was part of the Soviet Union. Most other countries in Europe observe Victory in Europe Day, 8 May, as a national remembrance or victory day.

History

Marshal Zhukov reading the German capitulation. Seated on his right is Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder.
Marshal Zhukov reading the German capitulation. Seated on his right is Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder.
Field-Marshal Keitel signing the ratified surrender terms for the German military
Field-Marshal Keitel signing the ratified surrender terms for the German military
"Victory Banner #5", raised on the roof of the Reichstag building
"Victory Banner #5", raised on the roof of the Reichstag building

The German Instrument of Surrender was signed twice. An initial document was signed in Reims on 7 May 1945 by Alfred Jodl (chief of staff of the German OKW) for Germany, Walter Bedell Smith, on behalf of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and Ivan Susloparov, on behalf of the Soviet High Command, in the presence of French Major-General François Sevez as the official witness. Since the Soviet High Command had not agreed to the text of the surrender, and because Susloparov, a relatively low-ranking officer, was not authorized to sign this document, the USSR requested that a second, revised, instrument of surrender be signed in Berlin. Joseph Stalin declared that the Soviet Union considered the Reims surrender a preliminary document, and Dwight D. Eisenhower immediately agreed with that. Another argument was that some German troops considered the Reims instrument of surrender as a surrender to the Western Allies only, and fighting continued in the East, especially in Prague.[4]

[Quoting Stalin:] Today, in Reims, Germans signed the preliminary act on an unconditional surrender. The main contribution, however, was done by Soviet people and not by the Allies, therefore the capitulation must be signed in front of the Supreme Command of all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, and not only in front of the Supreme Command of Allied Forces. Moreover, I disagree that the surrender was not signed in Berlin, which was the center of Nazi aggression. We agreed with the Allies to consider the Reims protocol as preliminary.

A second surrender ceremony was organized in a surviving manor in the outskirts of Berlin late on 8 May, when it was already 9 May in Moscow due to the difference in time zones. Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, chief of OKW, signed a final German Instrument of Surrender, which was also signed by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, on behalf of the Supreme High Command of the Red Army, and Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder, on behalf of the Allied Expeditionary Force, in the presence of General Carl Spaatz and General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, as witnesses. The surrender was signed in the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst. Both English and Russian versions of the instrument of surrender signed in Berlin were considered authentic texts.

The revised Berlin text of the instrument of surrender differed from the preliminary text signed in Reims in explicitly stipulating the complete disarmament of all German military forces, handing over their weapons to local Allied military commanders.

Both the Reims and Berlin instruments of surrender stipulated that forces under German control to cease active operations at 23:01 hours CET on 8 May 1945. However, due to the difference in Central European and Moscow time zones, the end of war is celebrated on 9 May in the USSR and most post-Soviet countries.

To commemorate the victory in the war, the ceremonial Moscow Victory Parade was held in the Soviet capital on 24 June 1945.

Celebrations

Victory Day 2013 in Donetsk, Ukraine
Victory Day 2013 in Donetsk, Ukraine
Ukrainian stamp, 2005
Ukrainian stamp, 2005
Victory Day 2019 in Kaliningrad, Russia
Victory Day 2019 in Kaliningrad, Russia

In Russia

During the Soviet Union's existence, 9 May was celebrated throughout the USSR and in the countries of the Eastern Bloc. Though the holiday was introduced in many Soviet republics between 1946 and 1950, it only became a non-labour day in the Ukrainian SSR in 1963 and the Russian SFSR in 1965.[5] In the Russian SFSR a weekday off (usually a Monday) was given if 9 May fell on a Saturday or Sunday.

The celebration of Victory Day continued during subsequent years. The war became a topic of great importance in cinema, literature, history lessons at school, the mass media, and the arts. The ritual of the celebration gradually obtained a distinctive character with a number of similar elements: ceremonial meetings, speeches, lectures, receptions and fireworks.[6]

In Russia during the 1990s, the 9 May holiday was not celebrated with large Soviet-style mass demonstrations due to the policies of successive Russian governments. Following Vladimir Putin's rise to power, the Russian government began promoting the prestige of the governing regime and history, and national holidays and commemorations became a source of national self-esteem. Victory Day in Russia has increasingly become a celebration in which popular culture plays a central role. The 60th and 70th anniversaries of Victory Day in Russia (2005 and 2015) became the largest popular holidays since the collapse of the Soviet Union.[6]

In 1995, as the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, many world leaders converged on Moscow to attend the city's first state sponsored ceremonies since the fall of the USSR. In 2015 around 30 leaders, including those of China and India, attended the 2015 celebration, while Western leaders boycotted the ceremonies because of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[7][8] The 2020 edition of the parade, marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9][10]

Russophone populations in many countries celebrate the holiday regardless of its local status,[11] organize public gatherings and even parades on this day.[12] Some multilanguage broadcasting television networks translate the "Victory speech" of the Russian president and the parade on Red Square for telecasts for viewers all over the globe, making the parade one of the world's most watched events of the year.[13] RT also broadcasts the parade featuring live commentary, and also airs yet another highlight of the day – the Minute of Silence at 6:55 pm MST, a tradition dating back to 1965.

Cause of massive losses among both military and civilians during Great Patriotic War, Victory Day is still remains as one of the most important and emotional dates in Russia[14][15].

Other countries celebrating 9 May

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko delivering a speech on Victory Day in 2019.

Partly recognized states celebrating Victory Day

Unrecognized states celebrating Victory Day

Former states

Holiday traditions

Victory Day Parades

Victory Day Parades are military parades that are held on 9 May, particularly in various post-soviet nations such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and until 2015, Ukraine. Outside of the former Soviet Union, military victory parades have also been held in Serbia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The first victory day parade on Red Square took place with the participation of the Red Army and a small detachment from the First Polish Army on 24 June 1945. After a 20-year hiatus, the parade was held again and became a regular tradition among Eastern Bloc countries and Soviet allies. Countries that had this tradition included Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, both of which had their last parades in 1985.[42][43] After the fall of the Soviet Union, they quickly fell out of style in Europe and soon became a practice among post-Soviet nations, many of which have large Russian populations. In 1995, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine held parades for the first time since 1991.

Mass processions

In Belarus on non-jubilee years, a procession is held from October Square, which ends with the laying of wreaths on Victory Square.[44] In 2015, a parade of young people, cadets of military lyceums, young athletes took place on Bishkek's Ala-Too Square, attended by President Almazbek Atambayev and Prime Minister Temir Sariev.[45]

Local residents in Saint Petersburg taking part in the Immortal Regiment, carrying portraits of their ancestors who fought in World War II.
Local residents in Saint Petersburg taking part in the Immortal Regiment, carrying portraits of their ancestors who fought in World War II.

The Immortal Regiment (Russian: Бессмертный полк; Bessmertniy Polk) is a massive civil event staged in major cities in Russia and around the world every 9 May. Since it was introduced in 2012, it has been conducted in cities such as Moscow, Washington D.C., Dushanbe, Berlin, and Yekaterinburg. Participants carry pictures of relatives and/or family members who served during the Second World War. The front line of the procession carries a banner with the words Bessmertniy Polk written on it.[46] Up to 12 million Russians have participated in the march nationwide in recent years. Since 2015, the President Vladimir Putin and senior Russian officials have participated in the procession in Moscow.[47] It has come under criticism by those who charge that participants are carrying photographs and discarding them after the event.[47] Critics have also alleged it is an attempt by the government to promote its own domestic and foreign policies, rather than to honor the memories of the millions who perished.[48]

Gatherings at monuments

Members of government usually take part in a wreath laying ceremonies at their national war memorial, usually dedicated to the specific war victory. Wreaths are often laid at memorials such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Moscow), the Monument to the Unknown Sailor (Odessa), and the Monument to Hazi Aslanov (Baku). Although Latvia does not officially officially recognize 9 May, the large Russian community informally celebrates the holiday, with trips to the Victory Memorial to Soviet Army being common in Riga, with diplomats (ambassadors of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus) as well as politicians (Nils Ušakovs, Alfrēds Rubiks) taking part.[49][50]

Religious commemorations

In the Easter message of 1945, the Patriarch Alexy I of Moscow wrote:[51]

The Easter joy of the Resurrection of Christ is now combined with the bright hope of an imminent victory of truth and light over the untruth and darkness of German fascism, which before our eyes is crushed by the combined force of our valiant troops and the troops of our allies. The dark forces of fascism were not able to resist the light and power of Christ, and God's omnipotence appeared over the imaginary power of man.

Every 26 April (Old Style, O.S.; 9 May, New Style or N.S.), the Russian Orthodox Church commemorates the dead, being the only special remembrance day for the dead with a fixed date. After the liturgy, a memorial service for the fallen soldiers is served in all churches and monasteries under the Orthodox Church. The annual commemoration on Victory Day "of the soldiers who for faith, the Fatherland and the people laid down their lives and all those who died in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945" was established by the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1994.[52] On the eve of the 65th anniversary in 2010, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow gave his blessing for all the churches of the Russian Orthodox Church to perform a "prayer service in memory of the deliverance of our people from a terrible, mortal enemy, from a danger that our Fatherland has not known in all history". The patriarch composed a special prayer for this rite, taking as a basis the prayer of Philaret Drozdov, written in honor of the victory of the Imperial Russian Army over the French Grande Armee during the Napoleonic Wars.[53] The completion of the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces was timed to Victory Day in 2020.

Other events

Traditions such as the Victory Relay Race are held on jubilee anniversaries.[54] In 2013, Turkmenistan conducted live-fire military exercises "Galkan-2013" (Shield-2013) dedicated to the 68th anniversary of the Victory, observed by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov at the Kelyata Training Center of the Ministry of Defence of Turkmenistan in the Bäherden District of the Ahal Region.[55] In 2016, Moldovan Defence Minister Anatol Șalaru attended a display of vehicles from the Moldovan National Army and the United States Army in the central park of Chisinau.[56] In April 2020, an official in the Western Military District of Russia announced that an air show would be held at Kubinka air base in Victory Day.[57]

On Victory Day, many books on topics such as the war such as Panfilov's Twenty-Eight Guardsmen[58] are published. On the eve of the diamond jubilee, President Vladimir Putin, at the request of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, gave a live address broadcast Austrian TV channel ORF.[59]

Soviet and post-Soviet symbols associated with the Victory Day

Soviet stamp, 1945. The inscription on the bottom written in cursive, below the Soviet soldier waving the red flag with Joseph Stalin on it, says, "Long live our victory!"
Soviet stamp, 1945. The inscription on the bottom written in cursive, below the Soviet soldier waving the red flag with Joseph Stalin on it, says, "Long live our victory!"

The Victory Banner refers to the Soviet military banner raised by the Soviet soldiers on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 1 May 1945. Made during the Battle of Berlin by soldiers who created it while under battlefield conditions, it has historically been the official symbol of the Victory of the Soviet people against Nazi Germany. Being the 5th banner to be created, it was the only army flag that was prepared to be raised in Berlin to survive the battle. The Cyrillic inscription on the banner reads: "150th Rifle, Order of Kutuzov 2nd class, Idritsa Division, 79th Rifle Corps, 3rd Shock Army, 1st Belorussian Front", representing the unit that soldiers who raised the banner were from. On 9 May, a specially made replica of the Victory Banner is carried by a color guard of the 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment through Red Square.[60] The Victory Banner was brought to Kyiv from Moscow in October 2004 to take part in the parade in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Ukraine.[citation needed] In 2015, the banner was brought to Astana to participate in the Defender of the Fatherland Day parade on 7 May.[61]

Saint George's Ribbon

The Ribbon of Saint George is a military symbol that dates back to the era of the Russian Empire. It consists of a black and orange bicolour pattern, with three black and two orange stripes. In the early 21st century, it became an awareness ribbon to commemorate the veterans of the war, being recognized as a patriotic symbol.[62] In post-Soviet countries such as Ukraine and the Baltic states, it has been associated recently with Russophilia and Russian irredentism.[63] In Ukraine specifically, the government has gone as far as to replace it with the remembrance poppy, which is associated with Remembrance Day celebrations in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth.[64][65] On 5 May 2014, the Belarusian Republican Youth Union encouraged activists not to use the ribbon due to the situation in Ukraine.[66] In time for Victory Day 2015, the ribbon's colors were replaced by the red, green and white from the Flag of Belarus.[67]

Awards

Soviet Union

Order of Victory
Order of Victory
Medal For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
Medal For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
Medal For the Capture of Berlin
Medal For the Capture of Berlin
Medal For the Twentieth Anniversary of the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
Medal for the 30th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
Medal for the 40th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Jubilee Medal "Forty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"

Russia

Медаль «50 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.»
Medal for the 50th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Медаль 60 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Медаль 65 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 65th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Медаль 70 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Медаль 75 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945

Ukraine

Медаль 60 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Medal for the 70th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism
Medal for the 70th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism
Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky

Kazakhstan

Медаль 60 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг. (Казахстан)
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Медаль 70 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941–1945 гг.
Medal for the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945

Turkmenistan

  • Jubilee Medal "60 Years of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"[68]
  • Jubilee Medal "75 Years of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"[69]

Moldova

אות הלוחם בנאצים
Order of the Republic[citation needed]

Israel

אות הלוחם בנאצים
Fighters against Nazis Medal

Gallery of the celebrations

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Russian: День Победы, Den' Pobedy
    Ukrainian: День Перемоги, Den' Peremohy
    Belarusian: Дзень Перамогі, Dzień Pieramohi
    Uzbek: Gʻalaba kuni, Ғалаба куни
    Kazakh: Жеңіс Күні, Jeñis Küni
    Georgian: გამარჯვების დღე, gamarjvebis dghe
    Azerbaijani: Qələbə Günü
    Moldovan: Ziua Victoriei, Зиуа Викторией
    Latvian: Uzvaras diena
    Kyrgyz: Жеңиш майрамы, Jengish Mayramy
    Tajik: Рӯзи Ғалаба, Rūzi Ghalaba
    Armenian: Հաղթանակի օրը, Haght'anaki ory
    Turkmen: Ýeňişlar Harçlaarsiň, Йеңишлар Харчлаарсиң
    Estonian: Võidupüha ("Victory Holiday")
    Tatar: Cyrillic Җиңү көне, Latin Ciñü köne
    Hebrew: יום הניצחון‎, romanizedYom ha-Nitzachon

References

  1. ^ There were 15 republics in the USSR on 8 May 1945. The Karelo-Finnish SSR was abolished in 1956.
  2. ^ Earl F. Ziemke, 1990, Washington DC, CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY, CHAPTER XV:The Victory Sealed Page 258 last 2 paragraphs
  3. ^ "Gesetz über Sonn- und Feiertage des Landes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern". Mv.juris.de. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
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  9. ^ https://tass.ru/obschestvo/8263303
  10. ^ https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/04/16/putin-postpones-75th-victory-day-parade-over-coronavirus-a70022
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  18. ^ Anon. "Victory Day Observed in Azerbaijan". Holidays around the world. A global world. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  19. ^ Israel passed the law on 26 July 2017.
  20. ^ Israel to host most extensive Victory Day celebrations outside of former USSR Archived 27 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine 7 May, Voice of Russia
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  29. ^ Lviv Oblast, however, does not recognize Victory Day, but rather recognizes the day as a memorial to all wartime victims of both the Soviet and Nazi regimes, as well as all of those caught in between.
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  32. ^ Poroshenko signed the laws about decomunization. Ukrayinska Pravda. 15 May 2015
    Poroshenko signs laws on denouncing Communist, Nazi regimes, Interfax-Ukraine. 15 May 2015
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