Tuesday, May 13, 2008

From Our Moscow Bureau

After a short trip back to States, I arrived back to mother Russia amid excitement and confusion. The excitement was about the big Victory Day Parade on May 9th. Every year Russia celebrates the end of WWII. To be truthful, they celebrate beating the Germans. In fact, the general consensus here is that they pretty much did it on their own. Yes, the Americans and the Brits did that thing on that beach in France. But to them, Normandy didn't hold a candle to the 20 million people that they lost during the war. So every year they celebrate beating the Germans by having a parade. However, when the Soviet Union collapsed 17 years ago, the parade turned into more of a small town affair. This year was to be different… This year they were going to show off their military muscle by parading a bunch of military hardware (tanks, missile launchers, jets, etc). I guess the new president (with Putin as the puppet master) wanted the world to know that Russia still has a military.

The confusion. NOT ONE PERSON knew where the parade was going to be. Of course we knew that it would start (or end) at Red Square. But nobody knew what street it would go down. It wasn't in any of the papers (or on-line). I'd never seen so much hullabaloo about a parade, and not one person could tell you where it would be. I had seen on the news that it would start at 10am. But that was all I knew.

With that little bit of knowledge, I got up Friday morning (we had the day off for the mystery parade) and walked down to the end of my block to find that the streets had been barricaded off. This was great to see as it meant that they'd be coming down my street! As luck would have it, they did come rumbling down my street. While the tanks and missile launchers were cruising by, we had helicopters, jets, and huge bombers flying overhead. I have to admit that it was pretty cool to see all that hardware close up.

All that said, I think I should write a letter of criticism and send it to the Kremlin. If you're going to have a parade of that size and grandeur you should at least let people know what street it's going to be on! For that matter, you should have a big name celebrity as the Grand Marshal (I'm thinkin' Britney Spears, Drew Carey, or even Hall & Oates). And can't they have the soldiers throwin' beads, commemorative plastic cups, or even 'moon pies'? Makes me long for New Orleans…

~The Moscow Correspondent

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