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The Moscow Victory Day Parade

The 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade was a parade that took place in Red Square in Moscow on 9 May 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945. The annual parade marks the Allied victory in the Second World War at the Eastern Front, on the same day as the signing of the German act of capitulation to the Allies in Berlin, at midnight of 9 May 1945 (Russian time). President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin delivered his twelfth holiday address to the nation on this day, right after the parade inspection to be presided by Minister of Defense General of the Army Sergey Shoygu. Being a landmark jubilee parade honoring the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in the European continent, the 2015 parade was the largest and most lavish held in Russian history. 

Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, was the 2015 commander. Some 1,300 troops from 10 countries were also on parade, including contingents from China, Serbia, Mongolia and India, all four countries making their first appearance at a Russian Victory Day parade. Following the official parade, over 500,000 Russians and foreigners marched through central Moscow in commemoration of those who perished in WWII and those who survived the conflict in the afternoon with no less than President Putin, whose father served during the war, leading the Moscow leg of the March of the Immortal Regiment, an annual Victory Day tradition also done in many other places in Russia. 

Important dignitaries in attendance and parade information

Atambayev;[5] President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon;[6] President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan;[7] President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev;[8] President of Serbia,Tomislav Nikolić;[9] President of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj;[10] President of Vietnam, Trương Tấn Sang;[11] President of Cuba, Raúl Castro;[12] President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro;[13] President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi;[14] and the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.[15] In all, around 30 international leaders attended the parade, including heads of UNESCO and the Council of Europe, although invitations were sent to 68 heads of state.[16]

The following countries opted not to participate in this year's parade in Moscow, although most sent their ambassadors as part of the diplomatic corps: Australia, Belarus,[17] (which held its own victory day celebrations on the same day), Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Georgia, Israel, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, United States, Finland, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia, Japan. The UK was represented by the grandson of WWII leader British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Nicholas Soames. Some EU countries came under US and/or EU pressure not to attend the celebrations, including the Czech President Milos Zeman, who subsequently banned the US ambassador from functions at Prague Castle. A number of WWII veterans from the US and UK were present at the victory day celebrations as private attendees.

The 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the subsequent War in Donbass has caused a number of nations that fought in the war, especially those that participated in the parade of 2010, to not participate in the 2015 celebrations, including Germany, whose chancellor Angela Merkel instead visited Moscow on 10 May to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and meet with Vladimir Putin.[18]

Aside from the return of the T-34 tank and the SU-100 self-propelled gun, and the usual vehicles and planes in the mobile column and the flypast, making their parade debut this year are the following:
Bumerang armored personnel carrier[19]
Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicle
T-15 heavy IFV
T-14 main battle tank
2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled howitzer
Ural Typhoon MRAP[20]
BTR-82AM Naval Infantry armored personnel carrier
Kornet-D/EM mobile antitank missile system[21] mounted on the GAZ Tigr APC
RS-24 Yars mobile ICBM launcher[22]
The brand new Crimean Wings (Krilya Tavrida) aerobatic team with 4 Yakovlev Yak-130s[23]
Sukhoi Su-30 and Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets

The Nakhimov Higher Naval Institute and the Chemical Defense and Control Military Academy will both make their return appearances in a Red Square parade after years of absences, the former since 1985 and the latter since 2006, while the Pacific Naval Institute will be making its debut appearance this year, all in the march past segment made up of 16,000 servicemen, where they will be joined by a company sized formation from the Ground Forces Military Institute from the Kazakh Ground Forces, part of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and several military contingents from other Commonwealth of Independent States member countries, including the Armenian Army and theAzerbaijani Land Forces, all returning to the parade after a 5-year break, alongside first time parade participants from the armed forces of Serbia,[24] China,[25] Mongolia, and India.[26] The BMD-4 infantry fighting vehicle will make its return to the mobile column after a 6-year break, together with the joint flight of the Russian aerobatics teams Russian Knights and Strizhi after a one year absence from the parade.

Also, several military vehicles that drove through the Red Square in the 1945 Victory Parade are being readied for their drivepast in other major Russian cities. As per tradition, 26 other Russian major cities (Sevastopol and Kerch in the disputed Crimea included) held their parades, and joint civil-military parades were hosted by 50 other towns and cities nationwide, plus 4 fleet reviews in Saint Petersburg (Baltic Fleet), Sevastopol (Black Sea), Severnomorsk (Northern) and Vladivostok (Pacific).

Victory Day parades and celebrations were also held in the following CIS member nations:
Belarus: 9 May (Minsk, featuring the military band of the United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa)
Ukraine: 9 May (Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa)
Kazakhstan: 7 May (Astana)
Kyrgyzstan: 7 May (Bishkek)
Armenia : 9 May (Yerevan)

The self proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic of Novorossiya, in the midst of the fighting in the Donbass, held on 9 May in Donetsk the first public Victory Day parade of the so called "United Armed Forces of Novorossiya" (military branch of the separatist organisation) together with the federal level Ministries of Internal Affairs and Emergency Situations. The situation was the same in the other non-recognised entity within Ukraine, Luhansk People's Republic, where on 9 May Luhansk's first ever Victory Day parade was held, with participation of the United Armed Forces of Novorossiya and the federal MVD and EMERCOM units of the entity. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic celebrated the day with a parade and other activities in Stepanakert in 9 May, also celebrating the 23th anniversary of the Capture of Shushaduring the Nagorno-Karabakh War.

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