Victory Day 2011

Yesterday was observed throughout the former Soviet republics as Victory Day -- the 66th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany on May 9, 1945. Through festive events and solemn memorials, Russians and their neighbors celebrated the end of World War II (or the Great Patriotic War, as it is known in Russia). Twenty thousand members of Russia's military marched through Moscow's Red Square alongside over 100 pieces of mobile military hardware, while veterans dressed in their medal-festooned uniforms gathered in the streets. The parade was the centerpiece of Russia's most solemn secular holiday, commemorating the Soviet Union's enormous sacrifices in the war -- an estimated 25 million dead -- while asserting the strength of Russia's modern military. Here is a look at this year's commemorations across several countries.

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