More than 100 Russian-speaking residents of West Hollywood and nearby places marched down Santa Monica Boulevard this morning to commemorate the defeat of the German army in World War II and to remember the relatives they lost in that war, which took the lives of more than 27 million soldiers and citizens of the former Soviet Union.
The event, dubbed the Immortal Resistance March, began on the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard and ended at Plummer Park. It was led by two vans that carried elderly veterans for whom the walk might have been difficult. Behind them was a crowd of Russian-speaking people of all ages, with most carrying photos of family members who had died during the war.
At Plummer Park the marchers and others gathered at Fiesta Hall to continue the Victory in Europe commemoration.
The event takes place around the world in Russian-speaking communities. In 1965, under Leonid Brezhnev, it became a public holiday. The Immortal Resistance March has taken place in Moscow and other Russian cities for several years. Today’s was the first in West Hollywood.
A few West Hollywood residents and foreign journalists complain that Victory in Europe celebration and the original Immortal Regiment March has effectively been taken over in Moscow and other major cities in an effort by Vladimir Putin to control one of the only unifying events in Russia. While there were a few marchers who wore t-shirts with Putin’s image, this morning’s march clearly was focused on remembering those who died during the war rather than contemporary politics.