VE-DAY celebrations to center around Tomb of Unknown Soldier

Russia celebrates Victory in Europe (VE) Day every May 9th in line with a long-standing tradition. The leaders of the Russian state are to lay their wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is located in the Alexandrovsky Garden near the Kremlin wall. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is devoted to the memory of Soviet soldiers, who died in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany, was opened exactly 35 years ago, that is, on May 8th, 1967. In December 1966 the body of an unknown soldier, who was killed in action near Kryukovo village just outside Moscow (the village was located along the 40-th kilometre of the Leningrad highway -- Ed.), was re-interred near the Kremlin wall. At that time, the Soviet Union was celebrating the 25-th anniversary of the German Wehrmacht's defeat at the gates of Moscow. And the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was completed by May 8th, 1967. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier features an eternal fire of glory burning in the middle of a bronze star. The star itself is located in the middle of a polished black labradorite square, which, in turn, is rimmed with red granite. "Your Name is Unknown, Your Feat is Immortal". These words are inscribed on the Tomb's granite slab. A crimson quartzite wall, which is located to the left, bears the following inscription: "In Memory of Those, Who Died for the Motherland. 1941-1945". Dark-red porphyry blocks are lined atop a low granite pedestal along the Kremlin wall. Each block contains an urn replete with soil from the following Soviet hero cities -- Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Volgograd (Stalingrad), Sevastopol, Odessa, Kerch, Novorossiisk, Murmansk, the Brest fortress, Tula and Smolensk. Each block bears the city's name and a bas-relief of the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile the Tomb's slab is adorned with a soldier's helmet and a laurel leaf on top of a military unit's standard. This composition was installed in 1975. The Tomb has become part and parcel of the Alexandrovsky Garden. (This garden was laid out near the Kremlin wall in honour of Emperor Alexander I in 1821 -- Ed.) A 141-meter granite alley leads to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb was designed by architects Burdin and Klimov. A guard of honour comprising soldiers from the presidential regiment of the Moscow Kremlin commandant's office was posted near the Tomb's eternal fire of glory December 12th, 1997. Previously, such a guard of honour had been placed near Vladimir Lenin's Mausoleum on Red Square. The change of the guard takes place every hour on the hour from 8.00 a.m. and until 8.00 p.m.

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