- Title: RUSSIA: Russian military rehearses Victory Day Parade
- Date: 5th May 2011
- Summary: CROWD WATCHING
- Embargoed: 20th May 2011 13:00
- Location: Russian Federation
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVAEMXS2AB14WRIXNGPREPPNIU85
- Story Text: Russian armed forces marched alongside tanks and missile carriers in a rehearsal on Tuesday (May 3) of a Victory Day parade which will mark the 66th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. The event will be held on Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2011.
Twenty-thousand military personnel, and 1500 musicians participated in the parade rehearsal, accompanied by heavy artillery vehicles and tanks.
Central Moscow streets began closing from six p.m. in the city's capital with parade drills lasting until around 12 a.m.
Hundreds of people lined the stands in Red Square to watch the military vehicles and weapons. Access to rehearsals and the parade itself is strictly controlled and limited.
Historic memory is deeply ingrained in the former Soviet Union which lost around 27 million people -- most of them civilians -- fighting against Nazi Germany and its allies. Some historians say the actual figure of the losses is much higher.
The first Victory Parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 on the order of the then-Supreme Commander-in-Chief, former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Unlike the rest of the world marking Victory in Europe Day on May 8, Russia and other post-Soviet nations celebrate this holiday a day later because it was already early morning on May 9, 1945 in Moscow when the Soviet Union and its allies signed the Act of Germany's Military Surrender outside Berlin.
Two more rehearsals will be held in Moscow before the anniversary event on May 9, 2011.
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