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Russia Victory Day 2022: 9 May

Russian President Vladimir Putin commemorated the Soviet Union’s World War II victory over Nazi Germany with a magnificent military display and a speech from Moscow’s Red Square. In a speech that blamed the West for the crisis but featured no new escalations, Russian President Vladimir Putin tied his war in Ukraine to that historic fight.

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Russia Victory Day: 9 May

Russia Victory Day is a commemoration of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. Following the signing of the German Instrument of Surrender late in the evening on May 8, 1945, it was initially inaugurated in the Soviet Union’s 15 republics (after midnight, thus on 9 May Moscow Time). After the signing ceremony in Berlin, the Soviet government announced the victory early on May 9th. Although the holiday was officially established in 1945, it was only in 1965 that it became a non-working day, and then only in a few Soviet countries.

KEY POINTS

  • From 1950 to 1966, 8 May was honoured as Liberation Day in East Germany, and the 40th anniversary was commemorated in 1985. On May 8, 1967, a Soviet-style “Victory Day” was observed.
  • The German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has been commemorating the Day of Liberation from National Socialism and the End of the Second World War since 2002.
  • Since its inception in 1991, the Russian Federation has officially recognised 9 May as a non-working holiday, even if it falls on a weekend (in which case any following Monday will be a non-working holiday).
  • While the country was a part of the Soviet Union, the holiday was also observed there.
  • The 8th of May is observed as a national commemoration or victory day in most other European countries.

BACKGROUND

  • The German Surrender Instrument was inked twice. In the existence of French Major-General François Sevez as the official witness, Alfred Jodl (chief of staff of the German OKW) for Germany, Walter Bedell Smith for the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and Ivan Susloparov for the Soviet High Command signed an initial document in Reims on 7 May 1945.
  • The USSR requested that a second, revised instrument of surrender be signed in Berlin since the Soviet High Command had not approved to the surrender text and because Susloparov, a very low-ranking officer, was not allowed to sign it.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower concurred with Joseph Stalin’s declaration that the Soviet Union considered the Reims surrender a preliminary document.
  • Another argument was that some German troops interpreted the Reims instrument of capitulation as a surrender exclusively to the Western Allies, and that fighting continued in the East, particularly in Prague.

Victory Day Celebrations:

  • Throughout the Soviet Union’s existence, 9 May was observed in the USSR and the Eastern Bloc countries.
  • Despite the fact that the holiday was implemented in various Soviet republics between 1946 and 1950, it was only declared a non-working day in the Ukrainian SSR in 1963 and the Russian SFSR in 1965. If 9 May happened on a Saturday or Sunday in the Russian SFSR, a weekday off (typically Monday) was awarded.
  • Victory Day celebrations continued in the following years. The war became a major issue in cinema, literature, school history classes, the news media, and the arts.
  • The celebration routine evolved over time, incorporating a number of comparable components such as ceremonial assemblies, speeches, lectures, banquets, and fireworks.

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