- Not to be confused with Victory in Europe Day
Victory DayVictory Day celebrations in Moscow, 9 May 2005 Official name Russian: День Победы etc.[a 1] Observed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Mongolia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan (also celebrated/commemorated in some places of Germany and United Kingdom) Date 9 May Next time 9 May 2021 Frequency annual
Victory Day[a 1] or 9 May marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War (also known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union). It was first inaugurated in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (after midnight, thus on 9 May, by Moscow Time). The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. Though the official inauguration happened in 1945 (which means it has been celebrated since 1946), the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965 and only in some of the countries.
In the former Soviet Union this festival was celebrated to commemorate the Red Army's victory over the Nazi forces.
In communist East Germany, a Soviet-style "Victory Day" on 9 May was an official holiday from 1975 until the end of the republic in 1990. Prior to that, "Liberation Day" was celebrated on 8 May, between 1950 and 1966, and again on the 40th anniversary in 1985. Since 2002, the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has observed a commemoration day known as the "Day of Liberation from National Socialism, and the End of the Second World War".
In 1988, before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Victory Day ceased to be observed in Uzbekistan, but was partially restored in 1999 as Memorial/Remembrance Day. After their separation from the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries now commemorate the end of World War II on 8 May, the Victory in Europe Day.
Since the Capture of Shusha in 1992 by the Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, May 9 celebrations in Armenia as well as the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have honored that victorious turning-point in the war in addition to the victory in World War II.
History[edit | edit source]
Two separate capitulation events took place at the time. First, the capitulation to the Allied nations in Reims was signed on 7 May 1945, effective 23:01 CET 8 May. This date is commonly referred to as the V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) in most western European countries. The other World War II victory day, the V-J day (Victory in Japan Day) is commemorated in August, and is of considerably lesser significance in Europe.
However, the Soviet Union's only representative in Reims was General Ivan Susloparov, the Military Liaison Mission Commander. General Susloparov's scope of authority was not entirely clear, and he had no means of immediate contact with the Kremlin, but nevertheless decided to sign for the Soviet side. Susloparov was caught off guard; he had no instructions from Moscow. But if he did not sign, he risked a German surrender without Soviet participation. However, he noted that it could be replaced with a new version in the future. Joseph Stalin was later displeased by these events, believing that the German surrender should have been accepted only by the envoy of the USSR Supreme command and signed only in Berlin and insisted the Reims protocol be considered preliminary, with the main ceremony to be held in Berlin, where Marshal Zhukov was at the time, as the latter recounts in his memoirs:
“ [Quoting Stalin:] Today, in Reims, Germans signed the preliminary act on an unconditional surrender. The main contribution, however, was done by Soviet people and not by the Allies, therefore the capitulation must be signed in front of the Supreme Command of all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, and not only in front of the Supreme Command of Allied Forces. Moreover, I disagree that the surrender was not signed in Berlin, which was the center of Nazi aggression. We agreed with the Allies to consider the Reims protocol as preliminary. ”
Therefore, another ceremony was organized in a surviving manor in the outskirts of Berlin late on 8 May, when it was already 9 May in Moscow due to the difference in time zones. Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel submitted the capitulation of the Wehrmacht to Marshal Georgy Zhukov in the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst. To commemorate the victory in the war, the ceremonial Moscow Victory Parade was held in the Soviet capital on 24 June 1945 (four years and two days after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of the Soviet Union).
Celebration[edit | edit source]
During the Soviet Union's existence, 9 May was celebrated throughout the USSR and in the countries of the Eastern Bloc. Though the holiday was introduced in many Soviet republics approximately between 1946 and 1950, it only became a non-labour day in Ukrainian (1963) and Russian (1965) SSRs. In the latter one, a weekday off (usually a Monday) was given starting 1966 if 9 May was to fall on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday).
The celebration of Victory Day continued during subsequent years. The war became a topic of great importance in cinema, literature, history lessons at school, the mass media, and the arts. The ritual of the celebration gradually obtained a distinctive character with a number of similar elements: ceremonial meetings, speeches, lectures, receptions and fireworks.
In Russia during 1990s the May 9 was not celebrated massively, because Soviet-style mass demonstrations did not fit in with the way in which liberals who were in power in Moscow communicated with the country’s residents. The situation changed when Vladimir Putin came to power. He started to promote the prestige of the governing regime and history, national holidays and commemorations all became a source for national self-esteem. Since then the Victory Day in Russia has increasingly been turning into a joyous celebration in which popular culture plays a great role. The celebration of the 60th anniversary of Victory Day in Russia in 2005 became the largest national and popular holiday since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Countries in which 9 May is celebrated[a 2][edit | edit source]
- Armenia has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
- Azerbaijan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
- Belarus has officially recognised 9 May since 1946 and considered it non-labor in the past;
- Poland has officially recognised 9 May since 1945;
- Bosnia and Herzegovina has officially recognised 9 May as the Victory Day over Fascism and considers it a non-working day.
- British Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey were not liberated from German occupation until 9 May 1945, and Sark on 10 May 1945, and celebrate those dates as their Liberation Days.
- Georgia has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
- German Democratic Republic recognised Tag des Sieges (Victory Day) on 9 May as a public holiday between 1975 and the end of the republic in 1990. Earlier, the Tag der Befreiung (Day of liberation) was celebrated on 8 May as a public holiday, from 1950 to 1966, and on the 40th anniversary in 1985.
- Federal Republic of Germany does not officially recognise 9 May as a holiday. However, celebrations continue to take place in some areas of the former German Democratic Republic. Also, on 8 May, the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since 2002 has recognised a commemorative day Tag der Befreiung vom Nationalsozialismus und der Beendigung des 2. Weltkrieges (Day of Liberation from National Socialism, and the End of the Second World War).
- Israel has officially recognised 9 May since 2000.
- Kazakhstan has officially recognised 9 May since 1947. It's a non-working day. The holiday is sometimes celebrated in connection with other national holiday on 7 May (Defender of the Fatherland Day).
- Kyrgyzstan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
- Moldova has officially recognised 9 May since 1951;
- Montenegro officially recognised 9 May as the Victory Day over Fascism as an official holiday;
- Russia has officially recognised 9 May since 1946 and considers it a non-working day even if it falls on a weekend (in which case any following Monday will be non-working);
- Serbia celebrates 9 May as the Victory Day over Fascism but it's a working holiday. Still many people gather to mark the anniversary with the war veterans, including Serbian army, Minister of Defense and the President.
- Tajikistan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
- Turkmenistan has officially recognised 9 May since 1946;
- Ukraine has officially recognised 9 May since 1946 and considers it a non-working day even if it falls on a weekend (in which case any following Monday will be non-working);[a 3]
- United Kingdom marks 9 May Victory Day with the ceremony on board HMS Belfast, London, with special respects to the Arctic Convoys 1941-1945.
- Uzbekistan has officially recognised 9 May from 1946 until 1988. Starting 1999, the holiday was restored as "Memorial/Remembrance Day;..
Russophone populations in many world countries celebrate the holiday regardless of its local status, organize public gatherings and even parades on this day. Some multilanguage broadcasting television chains translate the "Victory speech" of the Russian president and the parade on Red Square.
Victory Day London[edit | edit source]
Victory Day London is a ceremonial event held annually since 2007 in London on 9 May in commemoration of the victory in the Second World War and the Arctic Convoys 1941-1945. A ceremony is held aboard HMS Belfast, moored on the Thames. The event serves as a reunion day for British and Russian veterans of the Arctic Convoys with members of the British Royal Family present. Other participants include Russian ambassador, ambassadors of other FSU countries, British and Russian dignitaries. From 2012, the event is expanded with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, accompanied by cannons salute from HMS Belfast. The concert is held in Hay's Galleria and is free to the public. 
Soviet and post-Soviet symbols associated with the Victory Day[edit | edit source]
Soviet Union[edit | edit source]
Order of Victory
Russia[edit | edit source]
Medal for the 50th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Ukraine[edit | edit source]
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
Kazakhstan[edit | edit source]
Medal for the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945
See also[edit | edit source]
- 2008 Moscow Victory Day Parade
- End of World War II in Europe
- German Instrument of Surrender, 1945
- Hero city
- Minute of Silence
- Victory Day in other countries
- Victory in Europe Day
- Victory over Japan Day
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Russian: День Победы, Den' Pobedy; Ukrainian language: День Перемоги, Den' Peremohy
- Belarusian language
- Дзень Перамогі, Dzień Pieramohi; Kazakh language: Жеңіс Күні, Jeñis Küni; Azerbaijani language: Гәләбә ҝүнү; Georgian language: გამარჯვების დღე
- Lithuanian language
- Pergalės diena
- Moldovan language
- Зиуа Викторией Victoriei; Latvian language: Uzvaras diena
- Tajik language
- Рӯзи Ғалаба; Estonian language: Võidupäev
- Cyrillic Җиңү көне, Latin Ciñü köne
- Both Russia and Ukraine and (the) other post-Soviet states were part of the Soviet Union since 1920 till the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991. (Sources: A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples by Paul Robert Magocsi, University of Toronto Press, 2010, ISBN 1442610212 (page 563/564 & 722/723))
- Lviv Oblast, however, does not recognize Victory Day, but rather recognizes the day as a memorial to all wartime victims of both the Soviet and Nazi regimes, as well as all of those caught in between.
References[edit | edit source]
- Ziemke Further readingCHAPTER XV:The Victory Sealed Page 258 last 2 paragraphs
- "Gesetz über Sonn- und Feiertage des Landes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern". Mv.juris.de. http://mv.juris.de/mv/FTG_MV_P2.htm. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "Their memory lives on". Ut.uz. http://www.ut.uz/eng/opinion/their_memory_lives_on.mgr. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "8 May: Memorial Day for the victims of World War II". Estonian Embassy in Washington. http://www.estemb.org/estonia/history/aid-776. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
- Zhukov, Georgy (2002) (in Russian). Memoirs. Olma-Press. p. 329.
- "Celebrations, Commemorative Dates and Related Rituals: Soviet Experience, its Transformation and Contemporary Victory Day Celebrations in Russia and Latvia" (PDF). Muižnieks, N. (ed.). The Geopolitics of History in Latvian-Russian Relations. Riga: Academic Press of the University of Latvia. 2011. http://www.szf.lu.lv/files/petnieciba/publikacijas/The%20Geopolitics%20of%20History%20in%20Latvian-Russian%20Relations.pdf.
- "Utvrđen Prijedlog zakona o praznicima BiH". 16 July 2009. http://www.parco.gov.ba/latn/?page=21&kat=1&vijest=4782.
- " Estonia: Local Russians Celebrate End Of World War II", Radio Liberty, 9 May 2007
- 8.05.2005 · (2005-05-08). "Russian Orthodox Church in Toronto celebrates 9 May 2005". Mospat.ru. http://www.mospat.ru/archive/9223.html. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "May 9 parade TV-event from Israel". Courier.co.il. http://www.courier.co.il/?id=31726. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "Russian and British veterans will celebrate 9 May 2011 Victory Day on HMS Belfast in London". BSR Russia. 4 May 2011. http://www.bsr-russia.com/en/international-relations/item/1677-russian-and-british-veterans-will-celebrate-9-may-2011-victory-day-on-hms-belfast-in-london.html. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
[edit | edit source]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Victory Day (Russia). Wikimedia Commons has media related to Victory Day in Ukraine.
- Interactive map of the Great Patriotic War between the USSR and Nazi Germany
- Tanks in the streets of Moscow as Russia prepares to put on a show of military might for 2010 Victory Day parade
- United in Victory Russia, the UK and the U.S. commemorated their World War II victory together on Red Square (slideshow)
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