A quick note: I was invited to write a short informational page over at Expats Arrival, a very useful site for expats looking for practical information when moving abroad. I wrote about getting hooked up (technologically speaking) in Russia. If you’re trying to choose an internet provider, I’m your girl!)) Check it out here.
Have you ever had those days where you went to sleep sick, woke up feeling OK, proceeded to go about your merry way, and by the end of the day feel like trash again? I ask this because I’d like to believe that I’m not the only one stupid enough to do this.
OK, I did it twice this week. But it’s vacation! As the second part of our May holidays rolled around, I got a fever. But fever be damned — I was going to celebrate Victory Day!
Victory Day is May 9th, and celebrates the end of WWII. It mainly consists of walking around getting sunburned and congratulating veterans with flowers (easy to spot, since they will be wearing massive amounts of medals commemorating their service). You’ll inevitably hear “День Победы, День Победы, День Побеееедыыыыыыы!” (Den’ Pobedy, Victory Day) a million times. Enjoy the sweet, sweet stylings of Lev Leschenko below:
WWII (or the Great Patriotic War, as they say here in good old Rossiya) is always a contentious topic — and one of the first things that will come up when any Russian man figures out you’re an American. Why?
What the contention boils down to is that Russians feel that they don’t get enough credit for their role in WWII. Now, I totally agree with that, 100%. America, like every other country in the world, teaches a very specific history with a very specific world view; in short, that America is awesome and in every important historical event, we were the biggest and the bestest. Is that true? Of course not. Particularly in WWII, where we practically whistled and tried to ignore what was going on in Europe until we couldn’t avoid it.
However. However. Some Russians go a full 180 and like to claim that Russia won WWII. Single-handedly. Did the Soviet Union take a lot of damage in the war? Yes. Did the Russian winter basically freeze the Germans to death? Yes. But you’ve got to give a little credit to the other Allies for playing a large part in the war, even if you think America was useless.
It’s so interesting how American and the Soviet Union (and now, Russia) are so pitted against each other. A lot of people seem to think it’s because they’re polar opposites, but I actually lean toward the theory that the tension arises because they’re so similar.
A giant country with crazy patriotism and a need to be a show-off with the biggest military might? Who am I describing? It’s a toss up!
Anyway, enough about that and back to my original point – what was it again?: oh right, Victory Day! I didn’t manage much (see: sickness), but we did see the tanks rolling out of Red Square and have a walk around the center where the good ol’ Communists still hold up pictures of Dear Comrade Stalin.
Telephone wires running interference on the fighter jet displays.
Note the Buddhist monk photographing the military parade.
Pew pew pew!
VIctory Day is an experience, that’s for sure. 1000% more Soviet and military than anything we’ve got in America. Of course, I can also appreciate it for the five weekdays off in the past two weeks!
What interesting spring/summer holidays do you have coming up where you are?