Tuesday, May 12, 2015

We Are the Immortal Regiment

The Immortal Regiment is the name of a non-official movement that started in Russia a couple of years ago.

The rules of the game are quite simple: you print a big size picture of your realtive who fought against Axis countries during the War, stick it to a board with handle, and walk out with the people like you.

The our part of the WWII, which is called the Great Patriotic War, had an enormous effect on the USSR. Virtually all families had relatives who was somehow touched by the war: either killed on the front or occupied territory, or served in the Red Army, and even more people worked hard in the rear.

In my family, my granddad and all three his brothers served as officers in the Red (later — Soviet) army. All the Samarins men were lucky to survive the war, but the top price was paid by many others. "Saving Private Ryan" is a great film; as for the USSR, it could not afford such an approach. There were mothers that los ALL 7 or 6 or 5 sons (let alone the fewer quantity) at the war.

I have already said, and I will repeat in the future, that was the war for the very existence of our country and people, something the Europe, especially the Western Europe did not experience to a least possible extent. Neither France, nor Belgium, nor the Netherlands, nor other occupied or allied with Hitler Germany lands.

Out of nine sons of Epistinia Stepanova, Alexander (Sr.) was executed by the White Army during the Civil War in Russia, Fyodor was killed by the Japanese during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol, Vasiliy, Ivan, Ilya and Alexander (Jr.) were killed by Germans (the second Alexander was post mortem awarded with the highest Soviet award, the Hero of the Soviet Union), Filipp died as a POW already in 1945, Pavel was missed in action. Only disabled Nikolay made it to home; he died of wounds in 1963, being just 59. The mother survived all of them.

This year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the great Victory won by our ancestors in 1945. And the marches of the Immortal Regiment became a huge proof of our national integrity, of true values of our people. 500,000 people in Moscow and 300,000 in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) only.

The Immortal Regiment marches through the centre of Moscow,
namely from Tverskaya (ex-Gorky) Street through the Manezhnaya Square
to the Red Square, on May 9, 2015, headed by our President Putin.
Note that it's not the Soviet flag that is carried by the people in the head of the column; it is a huge copy of the so called "Victory Flag" that was put up above Reichstag when it was taken by our troops.

Generally, the Immortal Regiment counted on May 9 in Russia 12 (twelve) millions people. It was the greatest ever, maybe since October Revolution, nationwide demonstration.

March of the Immortal Regiment in Allaih District of Yakutia,
Polar Russia, about 5500km from Moscow.
It was snowy and windy then, temperature slightly rose from -20 to -12 centigrade (yep, below zero),
but due to humidity and wind it was felt like -30 to -25.

More than a year ago I said in the air of BBC's "World Have your Say" I was proud to be Russian. Now, I am even more.

One of the best videos I've seen meanwhile, was not even taken on May 9; it was shot two days before, during the dress rehearsal of the Victory Parade.

A little golden-haired Muscovite is standing still for quite a while greeting the passing soldiers — and at a moment they start to greet him back in a movement of soul.

I am happy I have such compatriots of younger age.

It helps me to look more confident in the future.

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