In May of 2010, my wife and I spent two weeks in Russia for the 65th anniversary of the winning of
the Great Patriotic War which concluded on May 9th, 1945 and is celebrated on that same day. We first
visited Moscow for the parade and visiting of Museums. Then we went to Volgograd (1940's Stalingrad)
to visit the great memorial and see other museums and sights.
Our travel was arranged by "Travel all Russia." They did a magnificent job and gave two well seasoned
travelers the trip of a life-time. This page will cover the military aspects of the trip. If you would like to
see pictures and comments of other aspects, go to our home page http://cstreetmuseum.info
and click on
the blog page. This will be replaced eventually with a more detailed account.
Except for some of the staff of the "Hotel Volgograd" (we had been warned in Moscow that they were
still "very Stalinist" down there) - all of the people we met were friendly and gracious. There is no reason
that we could see, to be afraid of traveling in Russia. It is a beautiful place with civilized citizens! (In spite
of the things we read about the Stalin years!)
I will tell the story with pictures and captions below.
SECTION ONE - MOSCOW:
I think that one of the reasons The Russian Federation made the celebration so big this year was the fact
that it won't be long before the vets are all
gone. I saw and met many out for the day sporting their medals.
It was such a proud day for them and their families!
We need to remind ourselves that the Soviets suffered and gave much more than all of the other countries
involved in the war combined. Their spirit and determination is unequaled in history! We (and they) should
forget the propoganda of the cold war. The Russians are great people and have always made great equipment.
Red square the day before the celebration. Tanks and all sorts of other military vehicles, aircraft and soldiers
from several countries including England, the United States, as well as Russia. There was a huge fire works
display in the evening. One Moscovite told me that this celebration was far and away the most splendid they
have every had.
I touch the stones of Red Square - to contact such an icon was moving!
One small section of the wall surrounding the Kremlin. We got a tour of the inside also.
Moscow was full of extra security for the celebration. Here is an armoured personnel carrier bringing
troops in around our hotel which was 2 blocks from the parade route. Some dignitaries from allied
countriess stayed at our hotel.
The Kremlin Palace. Everything is in top-notch condition.
There were many stacks of French cannons left over from Napolean's seige of the Kremlin.
Tanks on Red Square during the May Day parade.
Russians dressed in WWll uniforms with Mosin 91/30 rifles.
Air power over the Kremlin on May 9th.
This is the sports arena that was built to hide the construction of Stalins underground bunker. A few
miles east of Moscow. A "metro" underground line was built to reach it. Supposedly, Hitler had ordered
that no sports venues were to be bombed.
I hope I don't brag to much about the above picture but I don't think I can really help it.
This is me (on the left) with Dr. Vladmir Lukin, curator of Stalin's Bunker for the Armed forces Museum in Moscow.
Because I am the curator of the cstreetmuseum and have the redarmysoldier.info web-site, our travel agent was able
to arrange this private viewing and lecture in Stalin's private bunker outside of Moscow. The general public does not
have this kind of access.
We are in Stalin's office in front of one of the maps he and General Zukov used for the defense of Moscow 1941.
On this tour we got to sit where stalin sat, touch stalin's things, etc etc. I got to handle arms and be an insider to
many things. I was presented with a book and original 1940's propoganda poster. THIS IS A BIG DEAL! I am sorry,
I just can help but brag. We were treated like royalty! Our private driver, our private interpeter, our private lecture and tour
- I was nearly moved to tears!
This is a neat little piece of trivia that sits in Stalin's office. It is a "war game" played a little like chess. The "MOM" on the back
of the chairs stands for Military Strategic Game (in cyrillic). If my translator is right, it was a gift to Trotsky from Polish troops. I need to
investigate this more.
Famous bust of Stalin that sits in the cafeteria of the bunker.
Stalin went back to Moscow during the battle to show the people he was not running away.
SECTION TWO - VOLGOGRAD:
After Moscow we took a train to Volgograd (used to be Stalingrad) the site of the bloodiest battle in the history of
war. They have many memorals and artifacts. This is me on a T-34 tank from the battle.
A section of the 360 degree diorama depicting the battle of Stalingrad. Awsome. At the Museum of the Defense
of Stalingrad and Panorama. It is full sized and the "mother of all dioramas"
This is THE rifle of VASSILI ZAITSEV - Hero of the Soviet Union
Mother Russia. She stands twice the height of the statue of liberty on hill "102" which
is the highest point (Mamay Mound) around Volgograd. This memorial is for the 2.5 million
Russian soldiers and civilians who died during the battle of Stalingrad. It is breath-taking!
The eternal flame under Mother Russia.
My Tribute to Russia
By Glenn A. Williams (curator)
May 19, 2010 Volgograd Russia
Oh were headed for Volgograd
On the Volgograd Express.
With our conductor Galina
Taking care of us the best.
We'll touch the Volga River
And see the Don no less.
Riding down to Volgograd
On the Volgograd Express.
We left Moscow for Volgograd
One beautiful day in May.
Passing fields and forests
And villages along the way.
Going down to see Mother Russia
And pay our respects to her.
She gave the ultimate sacrifice
Of that everyone is sure.
The Nazi’s began the bombing
In September of ‘42.
And razed the whole city
Till she had to be built a new.
Don’t let them cross the river
Stalin’s order rang out clear.
And Zhukov stopped the Nazi’s
But they paid a price so dear.
When the smoke had cleared away
And the battle had been won.
In December of 1943
The fighting here was done.
2.5 million souls of humanity
To win they had to die.
Men, women, children
For them mother Russia cries.
No one in history
Has ever given more.
It’s been 65 years ago
Since the end of that war.
Yet the pain from the suffering
For Mother Russia stays fresh.
As she mourns for her children
And prays they have all been blessed.
As we walk around Volgograd
On a sacred battle ground we tred.
yet there is no way for us
To understand about all of the dead.
To understand about all the dead...............