First Immortal Regiment march organized in Belgrade/VIDEO
Victory Day this year saw the first saw the Immortal Regiment march organized in Serbia.Source: B92, Tanjug
During the event, which was started in Russia's Tomsk in 2012, people carry photographs of their relatives who participated in the Second World War.
Several hundred Russians and Serbians, including veterans who came here from Moscow, and Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, as well as Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Chepurin, took part in the march today. Serbian and Russian were heard spoken in the column of people moving through Belgrade's streets - interrupted by occasional shouts of "URA!" ("hurray").
Even though the event disrupted traffic in downtown Belgrade, it was welcomed with boisterous cheers and applause of Belgraders, who were joining the participants and singing Russian songs. When the column stopped shortly in front of Belgrade's Moskva Hotel, the guests came outside to take pictures with the participants.
They carried images of Russian and Serbian soldiers who defended Yugoslavia from WW2 fascist conquerors, as well as WW1 soldiers, and those who defended the country during the 1999 NATO aggression. They also wore black-and-orange ribbons of St. George - in Russia, a symbol of courage and victory, in Serbia - a symbol of unity with the Russian people.
Former Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic, and Labor and Social and Veteran Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin were among the participants, as was SNP leader Nenad Popovic. The event today was organized by the Russian embassy and was joined also by several thousand citizens. They carried red flags, and those of Serbia.
94-year-old veteran Zika Micic, who took part in the defense of Belgrade, arrived to the even riding his bicycle.
"We waited six months for them (Russians) to come. I was with the Partisans near Mt. Avala, in order to cut the German's route, while Russians arrived from the direction of Smederevo. Had they not arrived with their katyushas, the German division that was withdrawing from Greece would have set the whole Belgrade on fire," he recalled.
Micic added that he remembers "with pride and sadness" the day the Russian soldiers moved on to another front - toward Vienna, Austria.
The march today ended in front of the Russian House, when Ambassador Chepurin, interrupted by chants of "Russia-Serbia!", called on those gathered to "remember their glorious ancestors." He saluted above all the Serbian veterans, and noted that today's event was "not political," thanking also his compatriots who arrived from Russia, Belarus, Kazahstan, and Azerbaijan.
Immortal Regiment marches have been organized in 50 countries this year.
May 9 marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany and victory over fascism in WW2.