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Victory Day. Bow Down at Poklonnaya Gora.

They had promised clear sky above Moscow on the Victory Day. However we had to face the reality while taking a walk on the Poklonnaya Hill on May 9: it was the first rainy day of the month. Specially equipped airplanes prepared to dissolve the clouds could not help it.

Poklonnaya Gora (literally Bow-Down Hill) with its enormous Victory Park traditionally hosts the most large-scale celebrations on the 9th of May. So, the crowd was huge when we finally squeezed through the line of soldiers cordoning off the venue for the safety purpose. And we plunged into the turmoil of dreadful carousal: military fellows dancing with their girlfriends wearing uniform hats, shouting guys with bottles, flags and air balloons, and the all-shaking roar of the concert given at the stage in the central square.

The noise produced by pop-stars was nothing but a reckless profanation of war songs. Lip syncing girls and boys capering on the stage were a pitiful sight. Still more wretched sounded songs, the profound and powerful songs one knows from childhood, the songs that not once made me cry heartily and smile through tears. There was an absurd miserable gap between the sense of those songs and their performance, ridiculously emphasized by the divergence of the sound and the video on big screens all around the square.

Only the rain was not lying. The sky was solemn and the raindrops were falling down on us like tears of an all-understanding, all-pervasive and invisible creature. We hurried away from the crowd to find refuge under the pine trees of the vast park. The ground was wet and soft, with tender fresh grass springing up. Inhaling the air smelling of new revival of nature I was thinking about the people who died during that war fighting against fascism and all other innumerable wars the mankind had in its history, and thinking about the people perishing now. Looking at people in the park I was wondering how they would behave in the face of such disaster. And I prayed they would not have to

Curious children were running around tank chasers, cannons and other advanced devices of murder, displayed at the memorial, and grown-ups were taking pictures at their background. These are monuments of the Patriotic War, some Soviet and some German. Oh, God, let all other weapons also become monuments of mans insanity and let this rain make them all rusty and let this all-taking earth gradually absorb them all!

The Victory Park is a special place. It is a vast realm of tragic memory, with The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the monument of Victory, the thrilling monument to the victims of fascist death camps, the monument to soldiers of the allied countries fighting against fascism and three churches of three various confessions, established in memory of the perished at war. If you find yourself here on a usual day, when visitors are few and the vast spaces rest in peace just like the soldiers that passed away you might probably feel something quite special and I am sure it will be of vital importance to you.

11 May, 2006

May 17, 2006 16:31





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