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9 May — Victory Day

May 9 is celebrated in Russia as the day of the liberation victory of the Soviet people over fascism in the Great Patriotic War in 1945. It is also the day of memory of the perished defenders of motherland; people commemorate the millions fallen in World War II.

One of the most important holidays for the Russian people, it is an official day off in Russia and some other CIS countries.

On May 9, 1945 at 0:43 Moscow time Germany signed the Act of Military Surrender.

After the famous Berlin battle lasting from April 16 to May 8 the Soviet Union authorities accepted the German capitulation yet did not sign a peace treaty. Officially the war was over only on January 21, 1955 with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR taking the appropriate decision. Nevertheless, essentially the Great Patriotic War, i.e. the liberation war of Soviet people against fascism, considered to be part of the war with Germany, was over on May 8, 1945.

The May 9 holiday was introduced in 1945; yet starting from 1947 it was not officially celebrated for many years and was a working day. It became widely celebrated in the USSR only twenty years later, in the jubilee year of 1965, when the Victory Day again turned to be a rest day.

After the collapse of the USSR military parades on Victory Day were stopped for some time, the ritual reviving not before 1995, marking the 50th jubilee of Victory. The year 1995 saw two major parades in Moscow: the foot march in the Red Square and military equipment parade at Poklonnaya Gora. Since then the parades in the Red Square have been held annually.

It has become traditional for war veterans to meet each other on this day and for younger generations to commemorate the defenders of the motherland and lay wreaths to wartime graves and monuments of glory. TV broadcasts the best feature and documentary films about that war; open air concerts and colourful salutes are held on this day all around the country to celebrate the peoples victory over fascism.

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