Thursday, May 17, 2018

Remembering the Soviet victory against the Nazis

 by New Worker 
Andy Brooks with  James Taylor and Dermot Hudson

 MILLIONS of Russians took to the streets last week to celebrate Victory Day and the surrender of Nazi Germany on 9th May 1945. A massive military parade through Red Square in Moscow paid tribute to the millions of Soviet soldiers and citizens who died in the struggle to defeat the Nazis in the Second World War while other commemorations took place throughout the Russian Federation and much of the former Soviet Union.
            In London communists began the day by joining veterans, diplomats and local dignitaries at the ceremony that’s held every year at the Soviet War Memorial in the shadow of the Imperial War Museum in south London. Many then went on to Trafalgar square to join the “Immortal Regiment” parade called by the Russian community in Britain to honour those that fell in the fight against fascism.
            Hundreds of people, including many from London’s Russian community, gathered around the Memorial in the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in Southwark on Wednesday 9th May to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over the Nazi hordes in 1945.
            Banners flying high, British and Soviet war veterans marched to the monument to start the ceremony that was opened by Charlie Smith, the Mayor of Southwark, and addressed by Philip Matthews from the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund and Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko.
This was followed by the laying of floral tributes by Southwark councillors, diplomats from the countries of the former Soviet Union, British and Soviet veterans and friendship associations. Officials from the Marx Memorial Library and communist movements that included a New Communist Party delegation led by NCP general secretary, Andy Brooks, placed their wreaths and flowers at the memorial which was unveiled on 9th May 1999.
The Soviet War Memorial is a bronze statue of a semi-abstract figure holding a bell that will forever remain silent. The memorial stone that commemorates the 27 million Soviet citizens and servicemen and women who died in the Second World War is inscribed with the words “We Shall Remember Them” in English and Russian. These words were solemnly repeated by all at the close of the ceremony that ended with the {Last Post} and two minutes silence to remember those who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom during the Second World War.
Finally the event ended with the traditional invitation from the Russian ambassador to join him in a toast to victory at the nearby marquees where vodka, wine and Russian food awaited them.

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