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2017 Victory Day events begin in Minsk

Victory Day ends the series of the so-called May holidays in Belarus. Boutonnieres on the lapels of TV presenters' costumes is not a mere formality: an apple-tree flower with a ribbon of colors of the Belarusian flag is a symbol of rebirth. Without May 9, 1945, there would be no modern sovereign Belarus. In Belarus, this holiday is honored and celebrated at the state level. There are few countries where May 9 is still a national holiday. A solemn meeting and a festive concert were held in Minsk on May 6. Tatyana Revizore has details of today's events.

Grigory Prishchepny, veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
I remember May 8, 1945, when there was a sunny, bright, and warm day. And at this time, we received news of the cessation of hostilities. What was happening... it is difficult to convey in words. Even now I remember, and it send shivers up and down.

Nikolai Dryapocha, veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
Someone cried and someone cried because the victory finally came.

The ceremonial meeting in the Palace of the Republic is the official start of the festive events on the occasion of Victory Day. Famous politicians, creative people and, of course, representatives of young generation came to congratulate the heroes of the war.

Alexander Petroshenko, deputy chairman of the District Council of the Belarusian Union of Officers:
On this day, we remember not only the dead who gave their lives for our country, for our children, for our future. This is a holiday that says the country needs to be protected.

Andrei Kobyakov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
This is a day with tears in our eyes, a day of sadness, but, on the other hand, it is a very solemn, proud, and beautiful holiday.

Warm words, and afterwards a meeting at the Belarusian Railway Station. The atmosphere of the 1940s was conveyed through music, songs and poems.

Tatiana Revizore, correspondent:
It is not by chance that the organizers chose the theme "Belarusian Railway Station". The role of the railway during WWII was colossal, and the image itself was strong. After all, it was railway that conscripts used to reach the front and it was the same railway the used to return to their home and loved ones.

On the eve of Victory Day, the President congratulated Belarusians. The head of state expressed special words to veterans.

And this is the Mound of Glory. Scarlet carnations and wreaths were laid today on its marble slabs.

At the foot of the memorial is an interactive exposition "Memory of the Heart". So everyone had the opportunity to plunge into the atmosphere of military everyday life.

Nikoal Chaikin, veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
I took part in the liberation of the city of Minsk, in Operation Bagration. We saw all these ruins. The Belarusian people took all measures and restored the city even better than it was before the war. This is our joy and pride.

The house of veterans brought together 130 people on this day. Their average age was (could you imagine?) 92 years!

Vladimir Parabkovich, a veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
They say: war is not scary. But it is! But this is a test for a person: he needs to overcome fear and go into battle for his homeland. That's how we did: children and young.

Representatives of almost a hundred nationalities took part in the liberation of Belarus from the Nazi invaders. In memory of their feat, a memorial appeared in the Victory Park in Minsk. Honored architect Yuri Gradov and sculptor Konstantin Selikhanov worked on the monument many months.

Yuri Gradov, Honored Architect of Belarus:
This is one of the pages of our work. I think this is not the last page. We hope you will see a continuation, where there will be light elements from glass, which will be highlighted. There will be special elements which will carry symbolic representations of those peoples who liberated Belarus.

At the other end of the Belarus capital, the melodies of the Victory were played by several brass bands at once.

"Victory Day", the march "Farewell of the Slav girl" and a dozen of other touching works told the same story. The musical performance became a gift to the city.

The May sky of Brest was painted by kites launched in honor of the Great Victory.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky addressed from the ISS with kind words to those who defended their homeland at the cost of their own lives.

And this is only the beginning. Minsk alone will play host to more than eighty events timed to the anniversary of the Great Victory. After all, Belarus remembers that feat of the 1940s and it will always do.

2017 Victory Day events begin in Minsk