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© RIA Novosti. Alexey Kudenko

Victory Day preparations gear up

by at 13/04/2011 15:17

 

Swathes of central Moscow will be closed to traffic as soldiers dust off their marching boots and practice their maneouvres ahead of the Victory Day parades on May 9.

20,000 troops, more than twice last year’s numbers, will accompany over 100 pieces of mechanised armoury through the heart of Moscow to commemorate victory in the Great Patriotic War, RIA Novosti reported.

And the streets from Belorussky railways station down to the Kremlin will face evening closures during preparations for what is billed to be one of the biggest parades so far.

 

Traffic stoppers

The sight of men in uniform with big weapons is a winner with the Moscow crowds, but they bring their share of inconvenience too.

“Because of the rehearsals on Red Square on April 13 on Wednesday from 10.00 pm until the end of the event movement along Tverskaya, Okhotny Ryad and Bolotnaya Ulitsas and likewise Vasilevsky Spusk and Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Most will be closed to traffic,” a traffic police source told Interfax.

Rehearsals will happen three times a week until April 22, Vzglyad reported.

 

Heavy armour

The ministry of defence wheeled out an array of crumbling weaponry for the 2008 Victory Day parade, which impressed the crowd but did not persuade a former staff officer at the British ministry of defence.

While cutting edge when he first saw them in the mid 1980s they had not been updated since and failed to convince 20 years on.

This year’s C-400, Triumf, Pantsir-C1 and Iskander-M rockets are slightly updated but are still not the top of the class gadgets that the Soviets could muster.

 

Changing the guard

Changing the Kremlin guard in Sobornaya Ploshchad

© RIA Novosti. / Sergey Pyatakov

Changing the Kremlin guard in Sobornaya Ploshchad

For those who want a splash of colour and a more romanticised view of Russia’s military heritage, the President’s Guard are changing the guard on Sobornaya Ploshchad at 12.00 am on Saturday.

All the president’s horses and all the president’s men, or at least some of them, will be on public display to repeat the time-honoured ceremony every Saturday at the same time until October in the Kremlin grounds.

As it is within the walls of the Kremlin it is however paid access only and visitors must pay 350 roubles to get into the area and submit to security checks.

Ticket offices are open from 9.30 am until 4.30 every day except Thursdays at Alexandrovsky Sad, the Kutafya tower, the Armoury and on Sobornaya Ploshchad itself.

On the last Saturday of each month it runs in Red Square at 2.00 pm, see the official website for details.

 

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