Victory Day Parade Held in Minsk
A mechanized detachment containing about 180 military equipment paraded before the stands, while the air group involved about 40 aircraft and helicopters.
The military parade dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War was held on Saturday in central Minsk. Belarus became the only post-Soviet country where the authorities decided to hold wide-scale celebrations on Victory Day, despite the difficult epidemiological situation in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The parade was broadcast by all Belarusian TV channels. The live broadcast began with an aerial panorama of the venue for the upcoming action. The initial mark of the broadcast was the demonstration of the waving Victory Banner over the dome of the Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
Spectators gathered in the stands along one of the central avenues of the Belarusian capital near the Minsk Hero City Obelisk. The overwhelming majority of those gathered did not wear medical masks. The presence of elderly people and veterans on the stands was noticeable. This was in contradiction of the earlier statement by Belarusian authorities that they would ask the veterans to stay home this year due to the epidemiological situation. Judging by the TV broadcast, this year the number of people watching the parade by the avenue was noticeably smaller as compared to the previous years.
The Belarusian President arrived at the venue of the parade, joining the country's top officials on the stands. Lukashenko wore military uniform, as tradition dictates. After reviewing the troops, Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin reported to the President, Commander-in-Chief, on the readiness to begin the parade.
The parade was opened by a team of drummers, students of Minsk Suvorov College, who marched along the stands. Following them was a joint unit of students of eight cadet schools and two specialized lyceums. The Belarusian soldiers flew the flags of the Soviet Union and Belarus, the banners of the fronts that liberated Belarus, as well as the banners of partisan brigades. Parade detachments comprising over 3,000 servicemen marched along the avenue.
The military equipment parade was opened by a legendary T-34 tank with the inscription "Chervonny" on the turret. An armed vehicle with such inscription under the command of Dmitry Frolikov was the first to force its way onto the streets of Minsk on July 3, 1944. A mechanized detachment of about 180 pieces of military equipment paraded before the stands. Most of those were new and upgraded models of equipment and arms produced by the Belarusian defense industry enterprises. The announcers accompanied the march of the military equipment by stating that "the national security system of the country is ready to fight back any threat."
An air parade began next, involving about 40 aircraft and helicopters. For the first time, Su-30SM fighters procured from Russia flew over Minsk. The military part of the celebrations was concluded by a composite company representing the Honor Guard of the Belarusian Armed Forces.
The parade culminated in a theatrical performance and a rendition of the famous song "Victory Day". The Belarusian President sang the song alongside many spectators in the stands.
After the parade in Minsk, ceremonies of laying flowers at the Victory Monument on the eponymous square of the Belarusian capital will begin. Participating will be official delegations of government agencies, workers of Minsk enterprises and organizations, parliamentarians, and representatives of public associations and religious denominations.
In the evening, a large-scale concert "In the Glory of Our Victory" will take place on Victory Square. The organizers expect about 3.5 thousand spectators to attend it. Festivities are also being held today in other cities of Belarus, although on a lesser than usual scale. The decision was made to hold some of the events remotely as TV and online broadcasts. Late in the evening, festive fireworks will take place in Minsk and regional capitals to honor the Victory Day.