Victory Day (9 May)
Victory Day celebrations in Moscow, 9 May 2005
Victory Day or 9 May marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the part of the Second World War known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War where the Soviet Union fought against Nazi Germany. It was first inaugurated in the sixteen republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (after midnight, thus on 9 May, by Moscow Time). The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. Though the official inauguration happened in 1945 (which means it has been celebrated since 1946), the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965 and only in some of the countries.
In the former Soviet Union this festival was celebrated to commemorate the Red Army's victory over the Nazi forces.
In communist East Germany, 8 May was officially known and celebrated as "Liberation Day" and was a public holiday between 1950 and 1966, and again on the 40th anniversary in 1985. In 1975 a Soviet-style "Victory Day" was celebrated on 9 May.
In 1988, before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Victory Day ceased to be observed in Uzbekistan, but was partially restored in 1999 as Memorial/Remembrance Day. After regaining their independence from the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries now commemorate the end of World War II on 8 May, the Victory in Europe Day. From 2015 Ukraine will join the Baltic states in commemorating the end of World War II and the Victory in Europe Day on 8 & 9 May while in the 2014 Moscow Victory Day parade a unit garrisoned in the Hero City of Sevastopol paraded under the flag of the newly formed Republic of Crimea.