Prisoners On Parade


Some archive footage here, to the accompaniment of the Red Army Choir.

In one of the earliest Victory Day parades, around 50,000 German prisoners of war were marched through the streets of Moscow. They weren’t allowed to break out of line and many soiled themselves.

On the whole, Russian citizens were not disrespectful – some even threw bread to the German soldiers.

The Victory Day song, Den Pobedi, was specially commissioned in the 1970s but at first it was not considered appropriate by the authorities. They complained that it ‘abused the rhythms of tango and foxtrot’ – bourgeois dances frowned upon by Stalin.

However, popular Soviet singer Lev Leshchenko performed the song on TV in defiance of the censors, after which it became the standard song of all Victory Day celebrations.


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