Russia and its Jewish community are preparing for a military parade to mark its victory in World War II.
Soviet tanks and ballistic missiles rumbled toward the Kremlin in a series of test runs for the celebration through the heart of Moscow. The parade had been on and off for a week.
Friday’s parade will mark the high point of celebrations in a week that saw Russia inaugurate a new president, Dmitry Medvedev, and approve its former president, Vladimir Putin, as prime minster.
Jewish community leaders will be on hand for a spectacle not seen since Soviet times, part of two days of remembrance in synagogues and at war monuments across the country.
On Thursday afternoon, Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and the president of the Kremlin-favored Federation of Jewish Communities, Alexander Boroda, laid a wreath at the memorial to the unknown soldier at the walls of the Kremlin.
Russian synagogues on Friday will offer memorial prayers for Red Army soldiers who died during World War II in Russia’s fight against the Axis powers.
“Today, when the forces of evil in the form of global terrorism rise up … we recall the exploits of Red Army soldiers,” Lazar said, the Russian-language Jewish News Agency reported.