August 2, 2000 St. Petersburg celebrated
The whole week before Russian TV broadcasted one spot after the other to prepare the people for this holiday.
The Newski Prospect was closed for ordinary cars and the TV stations installed broadcasting units and many reporter were busy. A Marching Band opened the parade and some thousand soldiers followed them, walking or sitting on jeeps.
First came the veterans, highly decorated, proud and ernest, like in all parades before. The other men joyfully marched and shouted, their Hurra! - Hurra! could be heard everywhere.
Officers coordinated the march, using mobile phones which are very trendy now in Russia.
The soldiers were very cheerful, they danced on the street, smoked, kissed their girls or others...
I joined the crowd and started to photograph. Everybody welcomed me, some came over, waved into the camera or asked me to join the parade.
I had very mixed feelings. I had noticed that the every-day-life in Russia got more and more militaristic because of the fighting in Chechnia, I had been deeply annoyed when I watched the russian wheel-of-fortune-show, where all participants were dressed in uniforms, and now I was surrounded by enthusiastic people and their euphemism seduced me to join them, but I tried to withstand.
Such must have been the athmosphere in Imperial Germany in August 1914, the day of the mobilisation, just 86 years ago as I noticed now, what co-incidence...
It is not easy to withstand the enthusiasm, it can be very infectious...