Matching manoeuvres performed by their grandfathers 75 years ago, thousands of Russian soldiers and military cadets marched on Red Square in Moscow on Monday, reenacting a parade that took place on Nov. 7, 1941, a month into the Battle of Moscow, when Nazi forces tried and failed to conquer the Soviet capital.
By coincidence, today’s snowy weather in Moscow matched the wintry conditions 75 years ago, though Muscovites in 2016 happily needn’t worry about an army of German invaders parked just a few miles outside the city.
In 1941, Soviet authorities desperately needed to maintain the city’s morale, which is why Joseph Stalin ordered a military parade in the snow on Nov. 7, the 24th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. 28,000 Soviet troops paraded through Red Square and then marched directly to the front lines. In years to come, Moscow would cite this event as evidence of the USSR’s unshakeable resolve.
On Monday, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was on hand to mark the occasion, telling veterans that this parade’s inspirational power is unrivaled in history. The reenactment lasted 40 minutes, and it included several staged scenes where participants acted out various episodes from the Second World War, culminating in the Soviet Union’s counteroffensive in December, which pushed back the Nazis roughly a hundred miles from Moscow.
The reenactment also featured several tanks and heavy weapons used by the Red Army in World War II. Even after the parade had ended, the equipment remained at Red Square for several more hours, on display for the public.
Watch the whole parade on Pervyi Kanal, available on YouTube: