16:20 GMT +319 November 2018
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    Military parade to mark 70th anniversary of Victory in 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War

    From Vladivostok to Kaliningrad and to Space! Russia Celebrates Victory Day

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    While Moscow's grand celebrations of Victory have garnered the attention of the entire world, Victory Day parades also took place across over two dozen Russian cities, with special events dedicated to the grand celebration organized in over 120 more, including in space.

    Military personnel in formation during the military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory in World War II, the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
    © Sputnik / Maxim Blinov
    Moscow's celebrations –the largest and grandest in recent memory, featured 16,000 servicemen, nearly 200 pieces of mechanized military equipment and 140 aircraft, and were attended by the leaders of nearly three dozen states, as well as the heads of international organizations, including UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon.

    But while Moscow's parade has concentrated most of the foreign press's coverage the capital's diplomatic corps, millions more Russians across the massive country's 11 time zones held their own festivities across over 26 cities. Overall, the parades garnered millions of spectators, and featured over 44,200 military personnel, 1,340 pieces of military equipment, over 245 aircraft and 45 ships.

    First Parade Kicks Off 3 AM Moscow Time

    Vladivostok was among the first Russian cities to begin its celebrations, kicking off its grand parade while Moscow slept. For the first time in years, the Pacific Ocean port city's festivities included a naval component featuring five ships, in addition to land, mechanized and air units.

    Not to be outdone, the eastern city of Khabarovsk held its own parade, featuring about 2,000 soldiers –among them pilots, sailors, marines, rail troops, internal troops, border guards, air defense units, communications specialists, and units of the Ministry of Emergency Situations; the parade's mechanized portion included an impressive 110 pieces of equipment, along with a historical portion which featured the legendary T-34.

    Parades across the Eastern Military District in the east of the country also included celebrations on the island of Sakhalin, in Usuriisk, Belogorsk, Chita and Ulan-Ude.

    Celebrations then moved on to Novosibirsk, Russia's Siberian academic and industrial center, three hours before those in Moscow. The parade featured units from the Central Military District including 3,000 army personnel, over 60 pieces of mechanized equipment, and an air component including the latest generation of Russian military aircraft.

    1,300 kilometers to the West, the historic city of Tyumen, Russia's first settlement in Siberia, held its parade in the rain. Military servicemen and city residents did not allow the weather to hamper their outpouring of thanks to veterans, who were seated in the stands. The military parade was preceded by a procession of floats featuring mockups of wartime vehicles, and workers in the factories and the fields working tirelessly to send everything to the front, and included a cavalry procession.

    Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth-largest city, located on the axis between Europe and Asia, held its own parade, 2 hours ahead of Moscow's, also under a light rain. Heading the parade were 14 UAZ jeeps driving decorated veterans of the Great Patriotic War.

    The city of Volgograd, the site of the famous battle of Stalingrad, considered one of the turning points of the war, held its parade along Fallen Soldiers' Square. Following the parade, which featured 1,200 personnel and 50 pieces of mechanized equipment, city residents were also treated to an impressive show by a drill team.

    Chechnya's festivities in the city of Grozny were surely among the grandest in the Russian Caucasus; in addition to a military parade featuring 2,500 ground troops and 50 units of military equipment, celebrations also included a recreation of the taking of the Reichstag in Berlin featuring a large mockup of the German seat of power.

    The parade in Russia's southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don featured an impressive 1,200 military personnel, 55 pieces of mechanized equipment and 35 air units.

    Like Vladivostok's parade, begun seven hours before, the parade in St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, featured a naval component along the river Neva featuring ten navy ships, in addition to a parade which featured 2,000 servicemen and 60 pieces of military equipment.

    The Hero City of Sevastopol in Crimea marked a double celebration. In addition to the 70th Anniversary of Victory, the Black Sea port city also celebrated the 71st anniversary of its liberation from Nazi forces, which occurred on May 9, 1944.

    Russia's Kaliningrad, 1 hour behind Moscow, wrapped up the military parade portion of Russia's May 9 celebrations. The parade included 1,500 military personnel, 75 pieces of mechanized equipment, 15 aircraft and 10 navy ships.

    Former Soviet States Also Mark Celebration With Large Parades

    In addition to the parades held across Russia, several states of the former Soviet Union have held their own celebrations of the Great Victory. This included grand parades in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan and Minsk, Belarus. Bishkek's parade featured 2,000 servicemen and nearly 100 pieces of military equipment, while Minsk's included 5,000 personnel and 250 pieces of mechanized equipment. Kazakhstan held its parade dedicated to victory two days earlier in Astana, featuring over 5,000 military servicemen and 200 pieces of military equipment.

     

    Sky's Not the Limit

    Russians' celebration of Victory wasn't limited to the surface of the planet. Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Mikhail Kornienko, and Gennady Padalka, presently in orbit over the earth aboard the International Space Station, sent their congratulations to the people of Earth.

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