Over 5,000 Russian soldiers on Wednesday took part in a parade held in Moscow's Red Square to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the historic 1941 march that took place while Nazi troops fought in the Soviet capital's outskirts.
In a true exercise of nostalgia and celebration of military paraphernalia, soldiers sported vintage military uniforms, carried historic weapons and drove old vehicles across the cobbled Red Square while surviving veterans of the original event looked on.
According to most historians, the 1941 march was crucial for the defense of Moscow as it contributed to boosting the Soviet army's waning morale with the enemy Nazi Wehrmacht at the capital's gates.
A total of 28,500 soldiers participated in the 1941 parade, which was at the time held to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution.
The Soviet Union's then-leader, Joseph Stalin, gave a rousing speech to the troops in which he excoriated the Germans and evoked patriotic imagery – such as the exploits of the mythical Russian hero, Alexander Nevsky – to call for unyielding resistance against the invaders.
"Let the heroic images of our great ancestors – Alexander Nevsky, Dmitri Donskoi, Kuzma Minin, Dmitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Kutuzov – inspire you in this war!" Stalin said in his speech. "Let the victorious banner of the great Lenin fly over your heads!"
"Utter destruction to the German invaders!" the Georgian-born Soviet leader added. "Death to the German armies of occupation! Long live our glorious motherland, her freedom and her independence! Under the banner of Lenin... Onward to victory!"
In order to deceive the advancing Nazi forces, the 1941 parade had been announced as taking place at 10 am; however, it was actually held two hours earlier to avoid the risk of German air strikes against the marching Soviet troops.
After the commemorative march, an open-air museum was opened to the public featuring some of the weapons used by Soviet troops during the conflict.
In a parallel celebration, members of the Russian communist party rallied through the historic center of Moscow to mark the 101st anniversary of the so-called Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917.
They converged on Revolution Square to pay tribute to Karl Marx, in one of very few acts commemorating Red October, an event that radically changed the course of the 20th century.
The Soviet Revolution, a virtually bloodless coup d'état led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks on Nov. 7, 1917, marked the beginning of a bloody civil war between the Reds and Whites (1917-1922) and the creation of the Soviet Union after the former's victory.