On May 8 and 9, progressive sections across Europe and in post-Soviet Republics in Asia celebrated the 77th anniversary of the Victory Day commemorating the defeat and surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Red Army at the end of World War II. On May 8, communists in Moscow under the leadership of Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin wall and at the monument to Marshal of Victory, Georgy Zhukov. Cadres of the CPRF and the Komsomol organized rallies in the cities of St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), Ryazan, Chita, Tyumen, Arkhangelsk, Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saratov, and Toms, among others.
The Russian Federation’s official Victory Day celebration was held in Moscow with the traditional Victory Day parade by the Russian armed forces. President Vladmir Putin paid tributes to the Soviet veterans and fallen heroes of World War II. Official events and marches were also held in all major cities across Russia, as well as in Sevastopol in Crimea and in the cities of former Soviet Republics like Dushanbe, Minsk, and Bishkek. The day was also commemorated in the Russian-controlled cities of Kherson, Berdyansk, Mariupol and Melitopol in Ukraine and Tskhinvali in South Ossetia.
In Russia and many of the erstwhile Soviet Republics, May 9 is observed as the Victory Day. Several other European countries officially commemorate Victory Day annually on May 8. It was late night on May 8 (May 9 according to Russian time), 1945, that Nazi Germany signed the final German Instrument of Surrender in Berlin.
Observers are noting that there have been deliberate attempts from major European powers to undermine the role of the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany with attempts to remove Soviet and Russian symbols from their official Victory Day celebrations. Recently, in the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, countries like Germany and Moldova banned the public display of Soviet symbols including the Ribbon of St. George. Earlier, the European Parliament had pushed a notorious resolution equating communism with Nazism and calling for decommunization, which is already underway in Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and other countries.
Meanwhile, the EU leadership which supports decommunization across Europe has ignored the spike in neo-Nazi activities with the overt and covert support of right-wing governments on the continent. Even though progressive sections across Europe have expressed strong protest against such anti-communist directives, with the escalation of the EU-Russia conflict into a full-fledged war in Ukraine, far-right and Russophobic forces have reinvigorated their anti-Russia and anti-communist campaign across Europe.
On May 9, progressive sections in Moldova including communists and socialists, took out a massive Victory Day march in capital Chisinau, challenging the government directives. On May 8 and 9, various events, including rallies, were organized across Greece by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) to mark the 77th anniversary of Victory Day. The Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) and its youth wing EDON organized events to commemorate Victory Day in Cyprus. The Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA), Communist Party of Belgium (PCB/CPB), and others participated in Victory Day events in Belgium. Communists, anti-fascists and other anti-imperialist sections organized a Victory Day march in Madrid on May 8.