In South Ossetia they are preparing to celebrate Victory Day on Saturday (9 May) but this year the celebration will be more subdued because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The celebration of the victory of the allies in the Second World War, known in the post Soviet space as the Great Patriotic War, plays an important part in the current political narrative of the self-declared "Republic of South Ossetia". It emphasises the bond with Russia, and to the Ossetian brethren across the mountains in the Republic of North Ossetia Alania. It is also an expression of nostalgia for the communist past, still felt by many in the small territory that seceded from Georgia in 1992.
Ahead of the celebration of Victory Day the campaign "St. George Ribbon was launched in Tskhinvali, the territory's administrative capital. The organizer of the action is the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots in South Ossetia.
This is a tradition closely linked with the celebration of Victory Day. As the chairman of the council Natalya Zhuykova told South Ossetia's Res News Agency, this action is held annually, but this year it takes place in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, and therefore the organisers had to comply with all safety measures. The ribbons are distributed as before, but fewer activists took to the central streets.
Zhuykova said that about 200 St. George's tapes will be distributed as part of the action.
Black and orange ribbons became a symbol of memory of the victory won in the Great Patriotic War, a sign of eternal gratitude to veterans who liberated the world from fascism.
The de facto authorities of South Ossetia earlier decided to postpone the Victory Day parade on May 9 and the procession of the "Immortal Regiment" to another date due to the coronavirus pandemic. Anatoly Bibilov, the de facto president of South Ossetia, announced this at a meeting with members of the task force on countering the spread of coronavirus.
"We can't predict the epidemiological situation at the time of the parade on May 9, moreover, a mass congestion is undesirable today. We will hold a parade when it will be held in Moscow on Red Square, as it is our common holiday, our common date. I think this decision is correct from a political point of view. We will proceed from the date of the parade and will make certain adjustments, "Bibilov said.
Earlier, in South Ossetia, it was also announced that on days of national holiday Tskhinvali will be named the City of Stalin. It is expected this term will be used for the first time on Saturday.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: A girl attaches a St George's ribbon to an old man in Tskhinvali ahead of Victory Day (picture courtesy of the RES news agency, Tskhinvali)
Specialists at the University of Sheffield in the UK estimate that the blast had about one tenth of the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War Two and was "unquestionably one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history".