Immortal Regiment, Crimea

Two elegantly dressed young women watch over two little girls in military uniform as they wait for the Sevastopol Victory Day parade to begin. 9th May marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

In recent years the parade has become known as the Immortal Regiment an idea that grew from an independent grassroots initiative to pay tribute to the generation that endured the war.  As the Russian government has increasingly strictly controlled a vision of patriotism, what began as a human story has become a state ritualistic cult.

In Putin's Russia the march has grown as old and young embrace Russia's past. Although it has been claimed that marchers sometimes carry photographs of unknown people handed to them by organisers. Many would also like to see Russia looking forwards more and embracing the past less.

I found it powerful and moving, particularly as Sevastopol, due to the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the Crimean peninsula, is a City with special status.

A small boy in sailor's uniform holds aloft a black and white image of a war veteran.

In military uniform a small boy rides in a motorbikes sidecar decorated with a red star and the photographs of two veterans

An old man, his face etched with pain, carrying a black and white image of a veteran decorated with a ribbon.

May, 2016