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Moscow's Red Square hosts Victory Day parade with hardware, troops

RIA Novosti

09/05/2008 10:50 MOSCOW, May 9 (RIA Novosti) - A military parade involving almost 8,000 personnel, 111 sophisticated tracked and wheeled military vehicles, as well as 32 aircraft and helicopters was launched on Moscow's Red Square at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time (06:00 GMT) on Friday, when Russia celebrates Victory Day.

Victory Day marks the final surrender by Nazi Germany to the U.S.S.R. in WWII, often referred to as the Great Patriotic War in Russia and other states in the former Soviet Union.

Moscow's Military District Commander, General of the Army Vladimir Bakin, is running the parade, which was addressed by President Dmitry Medvedev, whose inauguration took place on Wednesday.

The parade accompanied by a large military orchestra of 550 musicians is divided into two parts, a historical and a modern. Personnel dressed in WWII uniform, carrying historical military banners, are to be followed by the passing of sophisticated military hardware, including BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, T-90 tanks, Topol-M mobile missile launchers and Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers.

Three dress rehearsals were held in April and March as part of preparations for the Victory Day parade.

Military hardware was last involved in a parade on Red Square on November 7, 1990. No military parades were held on the square from 1991 to 1994, and the May 9 parade in 1995 saw WWII veterans marching in central Moscow. Troops resumed their participation in military parades on Red Square in 1996.

The first Victory Parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 on the order of the then-Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Stalin.

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