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Unity Day Parade - 7th November 2010
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Author:  jamesmeston [ 04 Oct 2011 20:35 ]
Post subject:  Unity Day Parade - 7th November 2010

I wrote on this board recently about my own personal experience, how I met my Russian wife and our marriage.
I have visited Russia 7 times in the last 11 months – visit number 8 in two weeks’ time. I am extremely fortunate in that my wife makes such an effort to think of places to go and see, whether museums, parks, exhibitions or performances. I have never been disappointed with any place we have been. There has always been something of interest, something unexpected or something fun involved. There is enough in the memory banks for 50 trip reports and loads of photos to go with.
As the anniversary of my first Moscow trip looms I thought for this submission I would describe to you the events I witnessed on one particular morning, 7th November 2010.
4th of November is Unity Day a public holiday and on the nearest Sunday there is a military parade on Red Square.
One of my wife’s friend’s children is in a cadet group that was marching on the Square last year and she insisted that I had her ticket. These are not available to buy; they are allocated to families of the participants and dignitaries. I was really excited to be attending as well as feeling a little bit humbled that my wife's friend had given up her own opportunity to see her child in the parade.
At 8 a.m. on the Sunday morning I was dropped alongside GUM – the St Basil’s end, to go through the tight security cordon. My wife and her friend went back to the apartment that I had rented to watch the parade on TV.
I handed over my ticket and mumbled “Specibas” after I had been checked and made my way across Red Square to find my vantage point. There were thousands of troops and cadets in uniform waiting for the march to start in a variety of different uniforms.
As I looked around the whole situation felt quite surreal. Against the backdrop of the Kremlin walls, only a few yards from the Lenin Mausoleum, with St Basil’s now to my right facing the hugely impressive GUM department store, the music and the commentary started. I looked around at the people and the faces surrounding me, all Russian, without exception. I don’t know for sure if there were any other westerners in the crowd. If there were I would be very surprised.

Moscow Nov 2010 199.JPG

I did not have a clue what the commentary was saying, there were some big screens showing old newsreel clips from WWII and after the march past came some wartime re-enactment of the expulsion of the Germans from Russia. Guns were fired, smoke went up, troops charged and shouted. It was tremendous. Next thing I knew there was a low rumble as a number of old Soviet tanks entered the arena and moved in front of where I was standing – amazing – surreal.
Moscow Nov 2010 313.JPG

Moscow Nov 2010 318.JPG

There was me a 41 year old English man, in the middle of Moscow witnessing this. I think back to my boyhood years and the thought of travelling to Russia would in itself been ridiculous and unimaginable. I felt really privileged. However the parade was not over. The tanks moved away and then there followed a brigade of soldiers on horseback, swords drawn and charging through the square – just brilliant!

Moscow Nov 2010 328.JPG

The National Anthem was sung by all – except me, and afterwards a military band played which was also fabulous. The time had flown by and I had really enjoyed all I had seen.

Moscow Nov 2010 342.JPG

Everyone started exiting Red Square and I headed off to meet my wife and friends at a café, to show them my pictures and to tell them about the parade from my point of view.
This was my first trip to Moscow, one that was truly unforgettable; from the things I experienced to the people I met. Their hospitality and generosity was faultless.

“Welcome to Russia!” I thought. The bar had been set high and the pressure was on for me to organise something good for when Vera came to the UK.

I have included some photos of the parade - hope you like them. Plenty more reports to come in due course.

Author:  Luckyspin [ 09 Oct 2011 21:48 ]
Post subject:  Re: Unity Day Parade - 7th November 2010


Nice report and photos...... I look forward to the following up and sorry for been late to congratulate you.


Author:  wiz [ 11 Oct 2011 10:10 ]
Post subject:  Re: Unity Day Parade - 7th November 2010


Nice photos and subject...... keep it coming!



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