US servicemen will participate in the Victory Day Parade on Red Square in Moscow on May 9, Alexander Vershbow, assistant defense secretary for international security affairs said. The Americans will celebrate the 65th anniversary of Victory in WWII, the official said.
Vladimir Kozhin, an official spokesman for the administration of the Russian president, confirmed that Moscow had invited France, Britain and the United States for the parade. The French were the first to agree. They now decide soldiers of which troops will march in the heart of Moscow on May 9.
If all is arranged as planned, it will be the first time when foreign military men will step on Red Square pavestones as participants of the parade. Russia invited only military attaches of foreign embassies for victory parades before.
“The parade in 2010 is a special one. It will be the largest parade that has ever been held in Moscow during the post-Soviet years. We plan to use 130 planes and helicopters, as well as military hardware from private collections in the parade,” a spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
Organizers of the parade said that this year spectators would have a chance to enjoy the parade both on the ground and in the air.
Vladimir Kozhin said that all war veterans – hundreds of thousands of people living in Russia nationwide – would be invited for local celebrations of the Victory Day.
The first military parade was held on Red Square on November 7, 1918 to mark the first anniversary of the October Revolution. Two parades played a special role in Russia’s history: on November 7, 1941 in on June 24, 1945.
Marshal of the Soviet Union Konstantin Rokossovsky commanded the Victory Parade on June of 1945; Marshal Georgy Zhukov reviewed the troops. A column of soldiers tossed 200 standards of the defeated army of Nazi Germany underneath the walls of Lenin’s Tomb.
No victory parades were held on Red Square from 1990 to 1995. The tradition resumed in 1996 in accordance with the federal law of the Russian Federation “To Immortalize Victory of the Soviet Nation in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.”