In spring, Moscow traditionally prepares for a parade on Victory Day. This year the parade will be dedicated to the 55th anniversary of the German defeat in the Second World War. The Defense Ministry reports that servicemen of units which are deployed near Moscow, as well as students of Moscow-based military academies, will take part in the parade.

Besides the troops of the Moscow garrison, parade battalions of the Nakhimov’s naval school, Kostroma airborne regiment, combined regiments of Baltic Fleet marines, and Naval Institute, totaling 6,000 people, will also take part in the parade. Five thousand veterans of the Second World War also will participate in the parade. Thus, about 11,000 people will be involved in Victory Day celebrations in Moscow.

Among participants will be many servicemen who were engaged in combat operations in Chechnya. Thus, the famous 331st guards regiment of the 98th guards airborne division will march on the Red Square. Regimental commander Colonel Nikolai Mayorov, a Hero of Russia, will lead the column. Together with him Senior Lieutenant Roman Shchetnev, commander of scouts’ platoon, a Hero of Russia, will also march in the column. The 331st regiment took part in combat operations in Chechnya between September 17, 1999, and March 20, 2000. In June 1999, the regiment also formed and sent to Kosovo the 2nd airborne battalion to be included into the multinational peacekeeping forces.

During the parade on the Red Square the servicemen will march, like over the past few years. There will be no solemn march with heavy armament, similar to that conducted in 1995, because, according to the military, this is too expensive. According to tradition, troops will also perform marching in other garrisons. First of all, parades will be organized in the cities where headquarters of military districts, fleets, flotillas, and separate armies are deployed. Probably in Khankala, Chechnya, a military parade will be also organized. The marching will not be very pompous, and only personnel will take part in it, like in Moscow.

Active drilling precedes the parades. From March 13, drilling has been conducted in military units and military higher educational institutions. From April 21, drilling will be held near the Central Airfield of Frunze (Khodynskoe Field). On the eve of the parade, test marching will be conducted on Red Square. Colonel General Igor Puzanov, the Commander of the Moscow Military District, will command the parade. Defense Minister Marshal Igor Sergeev will traditionally review the parade. On April 20, Sergeev celebrated his 62nd birthday, and due to this Vladimir Putin issued a decree on extension of the military service for him for a year, because Sergeev reached the maximum age for the military.

Meanwhile, preparation of even a limited contingent of troops requires substantial expenditures. It is sufficient to say that, for example, about 200 trucks and buses with fuel consumption of about 3,000 liters will be used for transportation of servicemen to the drilling place and back. Soldiers and students are distracted from regular combat training, although in late May military educational institutions hold exams of the end of the training year.

Parades will also be conducted in capitals of majority of CIS countries. For instance, In Belarus heavy weapons will take part in the parade. In a parade of May 9 in Minsk will participate an honor guard company, students of the Belarussian Military Academy, servicemen of the 120th guards mechanized infantry division, units of combat engineers, communication troops, and railway troops. representatives of mobile forces, special forces, and interior forces will also march on the Independence Square in Minsk.

The mechanized column of the parade will comprise BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, Gvozdika self-propelled gun mounts, Konkurs anti-tank missile systems, BelGrad multiple rocket launcher systems, mounted on MAZ chassis of the Minsk automotive plant, Smerch multiple rocket launcher systems, Tochka tactical-theater missiles, S-125 and S-300 air defense missile systems.

The air group of the parade will include 30 aircraft, leaving apart the reserve airplanes and helicopters. A Mi-2 helicopter with the national flag is supposed to start the parade. It will be followed with Mi-24 and Mi-8T helicopters.

Then a wing of Mi-26 heavy transport helicopters. Further will follow a wing of Su-24 bombers, Su-25 assault airplanes, MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters. The parade will be ended by Il-76 accompanied with a pair of MiG-29s.

Organizers of the parade report that all flights will be performed at the extremely low altitude of 200-250 meters.