Europe

My Moscow Victory Day - eyewitness

Moscow parade Image copyright Marc de Berner
Image caption Soviet flags accompany portraits of war victims

Russia has marked 70 years since victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two with its biggest military parade.

People have also been celebrating VE Day in Moscow where a parade had been organised.

Marc de Berner from London travelled to Moscow to take part in the parade. This is his story.


"My family is originally from Leningrad, now St Petersburg.

I wanted to be here to represent my grandmother. She is now 92 and lives in west London.

She was the only one of her family who survived the war. The other 10 members of her family starved during the Siege of Leningrad.

Image copyright Marc de Berner

Today I walked through Red Square and there was around 10,000 ordinary people, carrying photos in memory of their lost relatives.

The security was very intense - airport-style, with sniffer dogs checking everyone going near the parade route.

When the parade started at 10am the crowd was 20 deep.

But everyone was polite and children could get to the front of the parade.

The highlight was the aircraft flying overhead. The crowd cheered and started to chant "Russia! Russia!" when the planes flew past.

Many were dressed in World War Two military costumes, both men and women. Some played balalaikas and harmonicas. Lots of people were singing Russian folk songs.

Image copyright Marc de Berner

Later I noticed people with photos gathering together. I asked why and was told they would be marching across Red Square in memory of their relatives who died.

So I joined them. It was a very good-natured march, even though the police stopped us in one spot for a while.

I'm very proud of my Russian heritage and pleased that I was able to be here today to remember the members of my family who starved in the Siege of Leningrad.

My gran has dementia. She only asked that I bring her some of her favourite Russian sweets when I return to London."

Interviewed by Andree Massiah

More on this story

Around the BBC