The Immortal Regimen marching on Red Square in 2018. Photo from

Quarantine Diaries: Бессмертный полк

Published: April 30, 2020

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons. Each can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. After the brief introduction, watch the Russian news report below and then read the side-by-side translation of the transcript as provided by First Channel. Then, answer the questions provided.

The May holidays are an important part of modern Russian culture. At the beginning of May, two public holidays are marked: Labor Day on May 1 and Victory Day on May 9th. Both offer several days off and Russians often take vacation days to fill in the gap between them, resulting in one long holiday. Ordinarily, this is used to travel or to “open the dacha” with spring cleaning and planting. This year, travel plans are almost universally canceled. However, many have taken to their dachas during quarantine, carrying out the “opening” early this year.

Victory Day in itself is recognized as Russia’s second most important holiday, after New Year. As WWII occupies a significant place in Russia’s identity and culture, celebrations are traditionally extensive, with large military parades, concerts, fireworks, and much more. In recent years, the Immortal Regiment march has also become a staple of the holiday. Originally a grassroots event, it eventually received state support and has now become a major national tradition. Russians and others hold hundreds of marches around the world in which they carry large pictures of their veteran relatives, now passed on.

Quarantine measures mean that in Moscow, for instance, the expected 100,000-150,000 people will not be able to convene. So, organizers are taking the event online and onto private balconies, as the news report below discusses.

Выйти на балконы с портретами своих близких (участников войны).

"Герои вернулись домой - и в этот день они вместе с нами".

Акция «Бессмертный полк» в этом году из-за эпидемии коронавируса пройдет онлайн The Immortal Regimen This Year, Due To Epidemic, Will Happen Online
У нас из-за вируса в этом году не будет Парада 9 мая. Он обязательно состоится, но потом, когда будет безопасно. Не будет в День Победы и шествия «Бессмертного полка» в Москве и везде по стране. Но сама акция пройдет онлайн, как почти все сейчас. Вариантов несколько. Интернет-кинотеатры, соцсети. Можно загрузить фотографии родных — участников войны и тружеников тыла. Потом это будет один общий видеоряд. И еще отличная идея. В 7 вечера, после минуты молчания, всем выйти на балконы с портретами своих близких. Это будет означать: герои вернулись домой. И в этот святой для всех в России день они вместе с нами.

«Дорогие друзья, приближается самый главный, самый наш любимый праздник День Победы. Я призываю всех вас, каждого, кому дорога память о солдатах Великой Отечественной войны, принять участие в акции «Бессмертный полк в онлайн-формате». 9 мая в 19 часов традиционно состоится минута молчания в память о погибших в этой страшной войне. Друзья, включите телевизор, возьмите портрет вашего героя и выйдите с ним на балкон, выгляните в окно. Вспомните обо всех, кто защитил мир, пожертвовав собой, тех, благодаря кому мы живем на этой прекрасной земле, помолчите в память о них, и вы увидите, что ваши соседи, люди в домах рядом тоже выйдут с портретами. А по окончании минуты молчания мы все вместе исполним любимую песню День Победы. Это и есть наше единение», — сказал Народный артист СССР Василий Лановой.

Because of the virus this year, there will be no parade on May 9th. There will certainly be one, but later, when it is safe. There will also be no Immortal Regiment march for Victory Day in Moscow or anywhere else in the country. But the event will be held online, as is almost everything now. There are a few ways to do this through online movies and social media. You can upload photographs of your relatives – war veterans or labor veterans. They will be put in a collective video. And one more great idea. At 7pm, after the minute of silence, everyone go to your balcony with your lost loved ones. This will declare that our heroes have returned home. And on this sacred day for all of us in Russia, they are with us.

People’s Artist of the USSR Vasily Lanovoi: “Dear Friends, our most important, our favorite holiday, Victory Day, draws near. I urge you all, for whom the memory of the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War is dear, to take part in the Immortal Regiment online. On the 9th of May, at 19:00, we will have the traditional minute of silence in memory of those who died in that horrible war. Friends, turn on your televisions, take your portrait of your hero and go, together, to your balcony or look out the window. Remember those who protected our world, who sacrificed themselves, those who we can thank for our lives in this beautiful land. Be silent in their memory. You will see your neighbors, the people in the next buildings, are also there with their portraits. And at the end of our minute of silence, we will altogether sing the beloved song “Victory Day.” In this, we will be united.


About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson

Josh lived in Moscow from 2003, when he first arrived to study Russian with SRAS, until 2022. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. At SRAS, Josh assists in program development and leads our Internship Programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik. He has previously served as Communications Director to Bellerage Alinga and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

Program attended: SRAS Staff Member

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Alex Sitnikov

Alex Sitnikov

Alex holds a BA in Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language (RFL) and an MA in Translation. He came to Moscow from Tolyatti to study at Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2013 and has been in love with the city ever since. Alex coordinates student activities in Moscow for SRAS. When he’s not occupied with that, Alex likes to play guitar, sing, read, play videogames, and make YouTube videos.

Program attended: SRAS Staff Member

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