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Russia: Moscow Celebrates Victory Day

Dilara, Yegor, and Leonid (left to right) during today's ceremonies (RFE/RL) MOSCOW, May 9, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- On the occasion of Russia's Victory Day celebrations, RFE/RL took to the streets of Moscow to see how everyday people were marking the holiday.

Dilara, Leonid, and their grandson, Yegor, from Moscow:

Dilara: "We're going to put flowers on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier with our grandson."

Leonid: "My grandfather's brother [fought in the war]."

Dilara: "Not our very closest relatives. But some were also killed."

Leonid: "My father was killed, my cousin was killed."

Dilara: "Your father wasn't killed."

Leonid: "No, he wasn't killed. I meant he fought in the war. But my cousin was killed in Berlin on July 3, 1945. And I'm now trying to find his grave. But it's very difficult because there is practically no archival material on this."

Dilara: "This is a sacred holiday for us, of course."

Leonid: "Of course. There were too many victims."

Dilara: "But the result of it all -- it was a grandiose result not just for our country, but for the whole of Europe."

Leonid: "It was a crucial victory against forces that wanted to destroy the whole world. If the Germans had won, it's not clear what the world would be like today."

Dilara: "No, it would be a completely different place. Utterly different."

Vadim, 80, pensioner from Ukraine:

"I celebrate Victory Day with a sense of respect, happiness, and pride. Because Hitler said that he would stamp out and claim victory over the Slavs. And that's the same opinion they have now in the West.

"But it seems to me that would be impossible to do to Russia. They might have managed it with Yugoslavia, but it's unlikely they will manage with Russia. Because the fact that they broke up the Soviet Union doesn't mean it will lead to the death of the country.

"On the contrary, in time we will be united again. And if need be, we will march again. If they threaten us again, we will go again [to war in the West]."

Aleksandr and Irina, managers from Moscow:

"We're not really celebrating, we were just trying to get around Red Square, and they don't let you go around it [due to the parade].

"Ordinary people will not forget [the reason for celebrating Victory Day].

"Who will forget -- I don't know. But we certainly won't forget."

Ksenia Koryakina, 22, student from Moscow:

"I wanted to go now to the Bolshoi Theater, where a lot of veterans are gathered, to give them these flowers. But you see it's very difficult to get through the center of Moscow on these occasions. I want to try to get there before they all leave.

"For me this is a very important occasion, because it was always part of my childhood. Because when I was little we always used to celebrate Victory Day by coming to the center of Moscow.

"We would go to Victory Square and congratulate the veterans there and give them flowers. And so I'm trying to continue this family tradition for myself."

Kiyam, 42, construction worker from Uzbekistan:

"It's been very good -- yes, we saw [the parade]. We were very happy. We celebrate this occasion in Uzbekistan.

"We celebrate Victory Day, May 1, everything. New Year. My father was a veteran."

RFE/RL Russia Report

RFE/RL Russia Report

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