According to Russia Today, around 12 million people joined Victory Day parades across Russia (and the rest of the world) to mark 70 years of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. Most of the people marching were in the so-called Immortal Regiment that honors those who fought in the war.
We were in Russia when the Victory Parade happened, and we marched together with the Immortal Regiment through the streets of Saint Petersburg. And it was one of the most extraordinary adventures we have ever had.
We were together with a massive crowd of Russians carrying photographs of those veterans who fought against Nazi Germany. Although some of them never came back, they were never forgotten. No one forgot those people’s sacrifices, which is why the Immortal Regiment exists today. It was an honor to be a part of it.
When talking to Timetravels about going to Russia, we were always keen on going there at the beginning of May to see the Victory Parade. The Victory Parade is somehow relevant to us and exciting in a way that is hard to explain.
We grew up in Brazil and never learned about the Soviet Union’s importance in the Second World War. In Brazil, you know about the Allied Victory over Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union getting of secondary significance in the fight.
Everything changed when we moved to Berlin and learned about the Cold War and the Second World War from a different point of view. From that day, we knew we had to visit Russia and pay our respects to all those who died. It probably doesn’t make sense to anybody besides us, but we had to go there.
And we did it.
We missed the main event at the Victory Parade, but we still hoped to see something remarkable. We read about the veteran parade a little later. But we didn’t know what it was since most of the people who were veterans during the Second World War were already dead. We didn’t know what it was, and we didn’t know what to expect, but we needed to find where this march was about to begin.
We walked to Mayakovskaya on Nevsky Prospect and saw what seemed to be where people were gathering for the Veteran Parade. We took a few pictures and decided to wait there to see what was happening and if we could find a better place to take even more photos.
We walked around. There were a lot of police officers, and we decided to stay in a spot where one street crossed with Nevsky Prospect. This was the best decision we made while in Russia.
Marching with the Immortal Regiment
The idea behind the Immortal Regiment is to honor the memory of the heroes who earned a hard-won victory over Nazi Germany. The Immortal Regiment is to immortalize family memory. The Immortal Regiment brings people together to remember the grandparents and parents who fought from 1941 to 1945. There were a lot of people in the streets of Saint Petersburg.
We must remember that this city was sieged for 900 days when it was still called Leningrad. A lot of people died on these streets, and everyone was there to remember and honor them.
It is hard to describe how it felt for us to walk there with the Immortal Regiment. There was a sense of history in being there. Exactly 70 years ago, the Second World War ended in Europe. It was an atmosphere of reverence and silence that was only broken when old trucks carrying those who fought the war came by.
All around us, everybody was screaming in Russian what we believed was: Thank You. Flowers were being given to the men and women who looked like they could be our grandmothers and grandfathers. Ordinary people that survived a senseless war.
On that sunny afternoon in Saint Petersburg, we marched with thousands and thousands of ordinary Russians who were there to remember those who fought for them to be there. We don’t have any connection to the war or with Russia, but we were there together to honor those who died, and it was something spiritual. That indescribable feeling comes back even as I write this.
Immortal Regiment: The day we marched with the veterans in St. Petersburg
When you decide to go to Russia, you should go with Timetravels! They are a fantastic travel agency, and they can help you with everything you might need for a perfect Russian trip. They organize various tours, from student tours to low-budget tours to grown-up travels!