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Vladimir Putin walks with half a million Russians to salute the immortal heroes of the WWII

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 May 2015

The president joins people surging across Red Square in honour of their unsung soldier relatives who saved the world.

The immortal Regiment in Novosibirsk, 9 May 2015. Picture: Anzhelika Lukina 

The simple aim is to allow relatives to honour those who served their country, many of whom paid the ultimate price. Unannounced, President Putin joined yesterday's vast march carrying a picture of his father Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin just as other marchers held photographs, often unframed, of their relatives.

The march came after the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow and other Russian cities commemorating the 70th anniversary of end of the conflict - known here as the Great Patriotic War - in Europe. 

The morning parades paid tribute to the at least 27 million Soviet citizens, including both civilians and servicemen, who gave their lives to defeat Hitler. 

'I think that my father, like millions of ordinary soldiers, and he was an ordinary soldier, has all the right to walk through this [Red] square,' said President Putin.

Praising the initiative 'born in people's hearts' he said: 'It affirms our commitment to keep the high bar set by the defenders of our Motherland. It also shows our confidence in ourselves, in our strength and in the bright future of our children.'

The president's father (1911-1999) is believed to have served in the an NKVD battalion before he was transferred to the regular army.

He was severely wounded in 1942.

The idea of the Immortal Regiment was born in Tomsk, Siberia three years ago, and has now spread throughout Russia and abroad. 


The idea of the Immortal Regiment was born in Tomsk, Siberia three years ago, and has now spread throughout Russia and abroad. 


The idea of the Immortal Regiment was born in Tomsk, Siberia three years ago, and has now spread throughout Russia and abroad. 


The idea of the Immortal Regiment was born in Tomsk, Siberia three years ago, and has now spread throughout Russia and abroad. 
To honour the unsung solder relatives who saved the world. Pictures: Kremlin.ru


Sergey Lapenkov, from Tomsk, founder and chairman of the Immortal Regiment Council, said: 'When the president stood up to join the squad, he did what a normal man should have done, as he loved his relatives'.

Another marcher, Lyudmila, 72, said the world owed Russia a debt for ridding the world of the Nazis.

'Europe is forgetting that the USSR won the war,' she said. 

It was estimated that one million people took part in other Immortal Regiment, sometimes called Immortal Squad, marches around the world yesterday. 

The idea came Sergey Lapenkov, who registered a website in honour of war veterans including who paid the ultimate price, giving their lives in the war. They did not take part in victory parades, until now.

His grandfather Ivan Lapenkov left in 1940 for the Finnish front, then fought in Smolensk, Stalingrad and Kursk. He lost both legs, but came back home. 

This year marches were held in the US, Norway, Germany, Ireland, Lebanon, Austria. Some 10,000 joined a march in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.

Around 15,000 attended a similar rally in Yekaterinburg. More than 70 percent of Russians say a close family member was killed or went missing during the war, making Victory Day an emotional symbol of unity for the nation.

Comments (3)

Sorry I'm late ! My profound thanks to all those russians families today whose LOVED ONES in the past sacrificed their lives in order for their Country to be free and to stop Hitlerism and his ideologies from devouring other Nations around the World including Australia. A conservative estimation of 40 million russians lost their lives in WW2 , A HUGE sacrifice that deserves a HUGE thanks from so many Nations. Спасибо вам большое РОССИЯ
Patrick Travers , Perth Western Australia
13/05/2015 21:07
3
0
March to salute family immortal Heroes is a very MOVING event.
Jocelyne, FRANCE
11/05/2015 20:57
11
1
I don't think the Republic of Ireland marked Victory Day, but Northern Ireland did as it is part of Britain. I hope President Putin doesn't forget all the former states of the USSR are as much a part of Victory Day as Russia is. In fact, Ukraine it is believed lost 41 million (soldiers & civilians) during the war, 2nd only to Russia, so don't forget that fact while you're all celebrating Victory Day. & I hope President Putin while celebrating this 70th anniversary, will see the futility of war where ever it is - even next door, in Ukraine, & will never today, tomorrow or any day in the future be thinking of starting another such like war. If he is even thinking this way then he makes a mockery of all his fellow citizens & world citizens celebrating today. He's also is making a mockery of all those who sacrificed their lives during that war to defend the world from Adolf Hitler & cronies. Time is NOW to end all war, if not, then all those who died in that war, died for "Nothing"!
Jaker, Dundalk
10/05/2015 02:14
12
18
1

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