VICTORY DAY PARADE - 2010:
Originally filmed in high definition, but since compressed for view on all TVs, what very little of the quality lost is amply made up for by the incredibly brilliant and vibrant colors of the scenery and soldiers of the Russian Federation on parade in Red Square on 09 May 2010, commemorating the defeat of Fascist Germany in the Second World War.
Once scorned and rejected in post-communist Russia, a spirit of pride and nostalgia for the USSR is very much reflected in both the uniforms and paraphenalia of the marching soldiers, as well as in the language of the defense minister, who addresses them as "tovarishchi" (comrades). One may argue that this use of past symbols and language is just symbolic; reflecting the spirit of the first victory parade and its atmosphere in 1945. Nonetheless, neither the current Russian president nor Putin, the so-called "advisor", who once ruled Russia and encourage this rebirth of Soviet nostalgia, seem to be upset at the many references to the Communist party in this parade.
Wonderful military displays of all the branches; stirring. Includes representative armed forces from the former USSR, as well as from Poland, Great Britain, France and the United States. Some period uniforms from the original parade (1945) are included, too. DON'T MISS IT! (approx. 74 mins.; in Russian, excellent quality).
PARADE COMMEMORATING THE 24th ANNIVERSARY OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION (1941):
In early October, 1941, the "Bolshoi Drap" ("the big skidaddle") began in Moscow, with widespread panic becoming the order of the day. Autumn mud would hold up the German advance on Moscow, but not stop it. When the snows came in force in November, the Germans were able to commence with their advance and Moscow looked as if it would soon be occupied for sure. By December, the Germans got as close to Moscow as they were ever going to get during the Great Patriotic War: advance units of the Wehrmacht actually spotted the spires of the Kremlin, quite a bit less than 20 miles away. It was the low-point of the War for the Soviet Union and few thought the USSR would be around as an existing state in 1942.
By 07 November, the height of the panic in Moscow was subsiding, but the Germans were still dangerously close to finishing the war right then and there. While most of the Soviet government packed up and left by train for Kuibyshev, Stalin made one of the few, very wise decisions of his dictatorship: he did not run away. Staying in Moscow, he stated that the troops would fight harder for a live city than a dead one -- a policy he was to insist upon at Stalingrad a year later, much to the horror and misery of its inhabitants who were not evacuated.
On 07 November, Stalin took time out from the War to preside over the yearly parade commemorating the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. It was not a happy affair: German troops were still perilously close to Moscow; Red Army units were barely holding on; there were only 400 tanks left to defend the city against the powerful Wehrmacht. But it was at this parade that Stalin did a great service to the USSR: in his speech, he pointed out to the soldiers that "their cause was just and they were fighting for the liberation of the homeland and of all Europe." It made a difference (though the Siberian units which showed up a month later helped more).
Watch the soldiers in this parade closely: when they left the view of the camera, they did not go back to their barracks; they went straight off to the front lines from Red Square. Most never came back.
The film is not of particularly good quality, but I am including it as a background to the main film ... to show how close the USSR came to being extinct in 1941 (approx. 7 minutes; worn VHS quality).
VICTORY DAY PARADE - 1945:
And, of course, this DVD would not be complete without the original Victory Day Parade over Fascist Germany and their Allies, which took place in Red Square in June 1945. Very much a different mood from the 1941 parade, this is the Soviet Armed Forces at the peak of their power. They had just annihilated the most powerful armed force the world had ever seen since the days of the Roman Empire and had arisen like a Phoenix from the humiliating defeats of 1941 to become one of the world's superpowers.
There are two parts to this section: the first is in black and white; the second is an "abbreviated" version in color. Unfortunately, the quality is not very good on either part; but how could I not include this film when the theme of this year's Victory Parade in Moscow is the 65th anniversary of the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany?!?! (approx. 68 minutes combined; very worn VHS quality).
DVD-R IS IN RUSSIAN WITH NO SUBTITLES. APPROXIMATELY 149 MINUTES TOTAL. VARIABLE QUALITY AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.