Backgrounder: Russia's Day of Victory over Nazi Germany

16:54, May 09, 2010      

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A grand celebration is being held on Moscow's Red Square on Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of Russia's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is among leaders of more than 20 countries and international organizations or their representatives who are joining Russian people in celebrating the Victory Day.

In Russia, the Victory Day over German fascism is celebrated every year on May 9, the date when Nazi Germany surrendered in 1945.

At midnight on May 8, 1945, Germany signed the instrument of surrender in Karlshorst, a Berlin suburb, at a ceremony presided over by Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov. The instrument was signed in the presence of representatives from the supreme commands of the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France.

Due to time zone differences, it was already well into May 9 in Moscow when Germany's instrument of surrender entered into force. Therefore, the Soviet Union and European countries situated east of Germany celebrate the Victory Day on May 9, whereas Western European countries mark the day as the European Victory Day on May 8.

The Soviet Union made enormous human sacrifices -- 27 million of its people lost their lives in the war -- and won the ultimate victory in its Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in 1945.

During the war which lasted for 1,418 days, 1,700 cities and towns were razed to the ground by the Nazis and many historical and cultural sites and relics were also completely ruined.

In the past 65 years, May 9 has been marked as a major national holiday in Russia every year, during which people across the nation gather in city squares to celebrate the hard-won victory and lay wreaths at the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers.

Source: Xinhua


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