Thousands of Russian troops dressed in World War II-era uniforms marched alongside vintage tanks in Moscow’s Red Square Thursday in a re-enactment of a parade that symbolized the former Soviet Union’s determination to defeat the Nazis.
The original event on Nov. 7, 1941, saw Red Army soldiers move directly to the front line in the Battle of Moscow -- a maneuver that eventually led to the Nazis’ first major defeat since the start of World War II.
The parade Thursday - 78 years later - featured about 4,000 troops, vintage T-34 tanks, and other vehicles.
Nazi forces approached Moscow in October 1941 as the Red Army suffered a series of devastating defeats following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June that year. They came as close as 19 miles to the city in some areas and Nazi officers were able to see Moscow’s landmarks in binoculars.
As Moscow’s fate was hanging in the balance, Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered the parade to boost the morale of the city's defenders. The Soviet command eventually managed to bring in fresh troops from the country's east and launch a counteroffensive that drove the Nazis back.
During Soviet times, annual military parades were held on Nov. 7 to mark the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The holiday was abolished in 2005, but Communist Party members still celebrate it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.