NOVO-OGARYOVO, May 26. /TASS/. Russia will hold on June 24 military parades on Moscow’s Red Square and in other cities across the country to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Victory over Nazi Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday during a session with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
The Russian president announced a decision on April 16 to postpone the Victory Day Parade, which is held annually on May 9, because the preparations for it could not be carried out amid the coronavirus spread. Putin pledged that the Victory Day would be celebrated in Russia later this year.
"I command to start preparations for holding military parades in the capital of Russia and in other cities to mark the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War," Putin said adding that the date for the military parades is June 24.
"It will be on June 24, which is the day when in 1945 the legendary historic parade of victors took place, when soldiers, who fought for Moscow and defended Leningrad and Stalingrad, liberated Europe and stormed Berlin, marched on Red Square," the Russian president said.
The Moscow parade on June 24, 1945 was the largest and longest military parade ever held on Red Square. It involved over 40,000 Soviet troops and over 1,850 military hardware.
Putin ordered Shoigu to exclude all possible risks threatening the health of the parade participants.
"I order you to provide the most stringent requirements regarding the safety measures during the preparations for and the organization of the parade," the president said. "Possible risks for all participants must be minimal or excluded at all."
The president said he made the decision taking into account the fact that the situation in the majority of Russian regions and in the Armed Forces became stable after surpassing the climax of the outbreak.
Putin also stated it was important that "during all these difficult weeks and months, the Russian Armed Forces carried on with the combat training and continued coping with the extremely important tasks of the Russian national defense, while the personnel and this year’s conscripts were maximally protected from the threat of the infection’s spread due to preventive measures, which were put in place in advance."
The Russian president did not specify whether the Victory Parade would be held with or without spectators. So far, lockdown restrictions are in effect in Moscow and other Russian regions amid the pandemic and all mass events are banned.
Immortal Regiment march
The Immortal Regiment march is planned to be held on Russia’s Navy Day, July 26, if the epidemiological situation does not require postponing it to a later date, the Russian president said during a video conference with the defense chief.
For objective reasons, it won’t be possible to ensure strict safety requirements in the case with the Immortal Regiment march, which unites millions of citizens in one formation, the Russian president said.
"When an endless flow of people goes through the streets of our cities, it is impossible to observe any distance by definition," Putin said.
"That is why, I suggest, nonetheless, that the Immortal Regiment march be held also after the parade but this time after another one, a month later, namely, on July 26, which is another day of our military glory — Russia’s Navy Day," Putin said. The Russian president also ordered to hold traditional naval parades on July 26 at the Russian Navy’s main naval bases.
Russia’s Main Naval Parade is traditionally held in St. Petersburg.
The Russian authorities will keep a close eye on the epidemiological situation in the country and assess possible risks, Putin said.
"If, in experts’ opinion, it won’t be possible to ensure safety fully, we will make a decision on postponing the Immortal Regiment march to later dates. But let us hope that we will carry out all the planned measures within the time limits I mentioned," the Russian president said.
"And, of course, we will be guided only by a responsible approach. The life, health and safety of people is the main and unconditional value for us," the head of state said.
History of Immortal Regiment march
The Immortal Regiment march is an annual public event held in Russia and other countries to commemorate those who fought or died during the Soviet Union’s 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany.
During the Immortal Regiment march, which takes place on May 9 or in the next few days, participants pass in a formation carrying placards with the photographs of their relatives who fought in the war. They are offered to post the photos of their relatives and their brief biographies on the official website of the ‘People’s Chronicle’ project.
The Immortal Regiment movement was first launched in the city of Tyumen in West Siberia in 2007 and was initially called "Victors’ Parade." It acquired its current name in 2012 in Tomsk to involve 120 cities in 2013. The movement officially became nationwide in 2015.
By now, the Immortal Regiment march has spread beyond Russia.
This year, it was decided to organize the march in the online format on May 9 because of the coronavirus lockdowns. About three million people applied for participation in the nationwide Immortal Regiment march online.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 5,601,800 people have been infected worldwide and more than 348,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 2,381,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 362,342 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 131,129 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 3,807 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.