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MOSCOW, May 8 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on the eve of Victory Day laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay tribute to the memory of those who died on battle fields in World War II.
Honour Guard soldiers carried the wreath of spruce branches decorated with flowers and a Russian-flag-colours ribbon with the inscription "For the Unknown Soldier from the President of Russia". After the wreath was laid, the president stood near the Eternal Flame with his head bowed.
Other participants in the ceremony -- Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, members of the cabinet and the presidential administration, representatives from political parties, generals and representatives from veterans' organizations -- also laid flowers at the monument.
The presidential orchestra played the national anthem, and servicemen of the Moscow military garrison marched along the memorial.
Then, Putin went along the Kremlin Wall and laid flowers at the memorial with the names of the hero cities and the Stele of Military Glory Cities. The memorial in honour of the cities was erected in the Alexander Garden in accordance with the Russian presidential order in 2010 before the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
The Eternal Flame memorial is 46 years old this year. On May 7, 1967, in Leningrad, a torch was lit from the Eternal Flame on the Mars Field and was carried by relay to Moscow. The flame arrived here in the morning on May 8. At Manezh Square, Hero of the Soviet Union Alexei Maresyev received the torch, and Communist Party Central Committee Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev lit the Eternal Flame. The memorial was repaired in 2010. For the period, the flame was transferred to Poklonnaya Hill. The Eternal Flame did not go out for a moment.