The 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade was a parade that took place in Red Square in Moscow on 9 May 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945. The annual parade marks the Allied victory in the Second World War at the Eastern Front, on the same day as the signing of the German act of capitulation to the Allies in Berlin, at midnight of 9 May 1945 (Russian time). President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin delivered his twelfth holiday address to the nation on this day, right after the parade inspection that was presided by Minister of Defense General of the Army Sergey Shoygu.
Being a landmark jubilee parade honoring the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in the European continent, the 2015 parade was the largest and most lavish held in Russian history. Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, was the 2015 commander. In addition to troops of the Russian Federation, 1,300 troops from 10 foreign countries were also on parade, including contingents from China, India, Serbia, and Mongolia, all four countries making their first appearance at a Russian Victory Day parade.
Following the official parade, over 500,000 Russians and foreign attendees marched through central Moscow in commemoration of those who perished and those who survived World War II. The Moscow leg of this parade, which is an annual Victory Day tradition called the March of the Immortal Regiment and observed in numerous other Russian cities and in several other countries, was led by President Putin whose father served during the war. It is estimated that up to 12 million Russians participated nationwide in the 2015 March of the Immortal Regiment.
Amongst those in attendance were:
In all, around 30 international leaders attended the parade, including heads of UNESCO and the Council of Europe, with invitations having been sent to 68 heads of state. The UK was represented by the grandson of World War II leader British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Nicholas Soames. A number of EU countries including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Greece came under US and/or EU pressure not to attend the Victory Day Parade due to the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the subsequent War in Donbass, resulting in Czech President Miloš Zeman subsequently banning the US ambassador from functions at Prague Castle. A number of World War II veterans from the US and UK were present at the victory day celebrations as private attendees.
The following countries opted not to participate in this year's parade in Moscow, although most sent their respective ambassadors as part of the diplomatic corps: Australia, Belarus (which held its own victory day celebrations on the same day), Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Georgia, Israel, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, United States, Finland, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia, Japan.
The 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the subsequent War in Donbass has caused a number of nations that fought in the war, especially those that participated in the parade of 2010, to not participate in the 2015 celebrations, including Germany, whose chancellor Angela Merkel instead visited Moscow on 10 May to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and meet with Vladimir Putin. Three days after the Victory Day parade, US secretary of state John Kerry laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Sochi with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
Aside from the return of the T-34 tank and the SU-100 self-propelled gun, and the usual vehicles and planes in the mobile column and the flypast, making their parade debut this year were the following:
The Nakhimov Higher Naval Institute and the Chemical Defense and Control Military Academy both made their return appearances in a Red Square parade after years of absences, the former since 1985 and the latter since 2006, while the Pacific Naval Institute will be making its debut appearance this year, all in the march past segment made up of 16,000 servicemen, where they will be joined by a company-sized formation from the Ground Forces Military Institute from the Kazakh Ground Forces, part of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and several military contingents from other Commonwealth of Independent States member countries, including the Armenian Army and the Azerbaijani Land Forces, all returning to the parade after a 5-year break, alongside first time parade participants from the armed forces of Serbia, China, Mongolia, and India. The BMD-4 infantry fighting vehicle will make its return to the mobile column after a 6-year break, together with the joint flight of the Russian aerobatics teams Russian Knights and Strizhi after a one-year absence from the parade.
Also, several military vehicles that drove through the Red Square in the 1945 Victory Parade are being readied for their drivepast in other major Russian cities.
As per tradition, 26 other Russian major cities (Sevastopol and Kerch in the disputed Crimea included) held their parades, and joint civil-military parades were hosted by 50 other towns and cities nationwide, plus 5 fleet reviews in Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad (Baltic Fleet), Sevastopol (Black Sea), Severnomorsk (Northern) and Vladivostok (Pacific). Some of the big parades featured an air fly past for the first time.
Victory Day parades and celebrations were also held in the following CIS member nations:
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic of Novorossiya, in the midst of the fighting in the Donbass, held on 9 May in Donetsk the first public Victory Day parade of the so-called "United Armed Forces of Novorossiya" (military branch of the separatist organisation) together with the federal level Ministries of Internal Affairs and Emergency Situations. The situation was the same in the other non-recognised entity within Ukraine, Luhansk People's Republic, where on 9 May Luhansk's first ever Victory Day parade was held, with participation of the United Armed Forces of Novorossiya and the federal MVD and EMERCOM units of the entity.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic celebrated the day with a parade and other activities in Stepanakert on 9 May, also celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the Capture of Shusha during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. Due to the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the fact that immediately after the parade formation of Azerbaijan was the contingent from Armenia, a photograph of the parade on the website of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan photoshopped the Flag of Armenia from the official parade picture.
Beginning in November/December 2014, preparations for the parade were well attended at the unit level. Individual unit practices were held in the various military installations for all the participating units, and by March 2015, the air flypast column began its individual practice flying runs. Also rehearsing for the parade are the massed military bands of the Armed Forces, the MVD, EMERCOM and the Moscow Garrison, all to be conducted for the 13th straight year by Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov, the Senior Director of Music of the Bands Service of the Russian Armed Forces since 2002, with a combined number of more than a thousand military bandsmen, and the world-famous Corps of Drums of the Moscow Military Music College "Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov", under the leadership of Colonel Alexander Gerasimov, the long-time college director, which has always (with a brief break from 2009 to 2011) had the privilege of leading the parade.
The parade practice runs officially commenced in the practice field at Alabino, Moscow Oblast, in April 2015, and will last until the middle of April when the runs on Red Square itself will start, ending with a final general combined practice run of the parade in early May. Before the first parade dry run, there was the first practice drivepast of the estimated 200 mobile column vehicles in attendance this year, that first drivepast was held on 27 March.
The first parade practice run on 3 April 2015 kicked off officially the preparation for the big parade, despite the snowy weather that day. Joining the first run-through rehearsal (for the march past segment and the mobile column only) was the first ever military women's contingent to march on Red Square for the very first time, composed of girl Cadet Corps students coming from the Moscow National Pensions School. This was followed by the first test run of the flypast column in the Alabino training grounds on 9 April, with the more than 150 aircraft taking part in that first run-through of the flypast segment.
The 15 2 April parade practice run witnessed the first practice march of a Cossacks contingent that on 9 May will be the first ever unit of its kind to march on the steps of Red Square after so many years. The unit marching for this year comes from the ranks of the Kuban Cossacks, which marched past Red Square in the Victory Parade of 1945 represented by the 4th Guards Cossack Cavalry Regiment. The 2nd dry run for the flypast was done on 21 April, and the final run on the Alabino grounds on 22 April.
The first late night practice run started on 29 April in Moscow's Red Square, and continued on till 4 May with the final two practice runs on 6 and 7 May, which also serve as the general practice runs, the one on 7 May expected to have Col. Gen. Salyukov leading the marchers on Red Square and General of the Army Shoygu inspecting, just as they would be doing in the actual parade in 2 days time (the final rehearsal, just as the actual parade would be, was scheduled to be held at around 10AM Moscow Daylight Time). All of them are open to the general public, with the 7 May final practice run being open also for war veterans. At the same time, final practice runs are being made for those joining the parades on 9 May in 26 other major cities in Russia plus 50 other towns and cities. During such practice drill runs in Moscow several variants of the new Russian armored vehicle platform Armata were seen with turrets covered, together with the Bumerang APC and the Kurgarnets-25 IFV's turrets, which got the same treatment as well till the turret covers were removed for the 3 – 4 May practice runs. During the 7 May general practice run one of the T-14 Armata tanks stopped in the middle of the square because of driver's mistake, right in front of the people in attendance. There was also one incident with a T-15 APC which could drive on the platform only after the second attempt.
All the 145 aircraft taking part in the flypast took their practice run on 5 May that drew a great reception from the crowds in Red Square, Manege Square and Tver Street that watched the dry run.
Bold indicates first appearance, italic indicates multiple appearances, Bold and italic indicate returning appearance, all indicated unless otherwise noted.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev with veterans during the parade
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with his wife
Vietnamese President Trương Tấn Sang with his wife
North Korean Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam during the parade
Former Soviet cosmonaut and first space walker Alexei Leonov with his wife during the parade
Georgy Shirokov, 91-year-old Russian veteran of World War II and former sailor of the Baltic Fleet walks with his great grandchildren
Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu inspecting the parade
Russian drummers with historical units marching behind them
Historical units holding the banners of Soviet Army groups
Historical Cossack units during the parade
Historical Cavalry units during the parade
Contingent from the Special Forces of Azerbaijan
Contingent from the Armed Forces of Armenia
Contingent from the Armed Forces of Belarus
Contingent from the Kazakh Armed Forces
Contingent from the Tajik National Army
Contingent from the Indian Army
Contingent from the Serbian Army
Contingent from the People's Liberation Army Ground Force
Kurganets-25 APC (front) and IFV (rear) variants during the parade
T-14 tank on Red Square during the parade
RS-24s escorted by GAZ Tigrs and Bumerang APCs behind them
Strategic bomber Tu-160 with refueling Il-78 during the parade
Su-25s coloring the sky with the Russian flag