Moscow to hold fireworks shows for 75th anniversary of Baltic city captures

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Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square.
Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square. Source: AP/Scanpix

A fireworks display will be organized in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of the capture of Vilnius from German forces, spokespeople for Russia's Western Military District said. Similar events are also planned for the anniversaries of the Tallinn Offensive and Riga Offensive.

The Artillery Marshal Vladimir Mikhalkin firework division is to organize a fireworks display in Moscow on the anniversary of the reconquest of Vilnius from fascist oppressors, spokespeople said.

Over 50 bursts of fireworks will be fired from Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow at 10 p.m. on Saturday.

German forces occupied Vilnius on June 24, 1941. On July 13, 1944, the Red Army captured the city. The first fireworks display marking the occasion was organized in 1944.

Later this year, similar fireworks displays will also be held to mark the Tallinn Offensive on Sept. 22 and the Riga Offensive on Oct. 13. A total of 17 displays have also been or are being organized in Moscow to honor the capture of several other Eastern and Central European cities by Soviet forces.

Estonian minister: Celebrating reoccupation of Tallinn unacceptable

"For the Republic of Estonia, World War II meant occupation by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union," Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) wrote on social media on Tuesday afternoon. "Following the departure of German forces in 1944, the Constitutional Government of the Republic of Estonia took office in Tallinn. Celebrating the reoccupation of Tallinn as a festive day, with a salute, is not acceptable."

Reinsalu added that he has requested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summon the Russian Ambassador to Estonia as well as protest the move to the Russian Embassy in Tallinn.

The legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia is and shall remain the basis for Estonia's statehood, he continued. "This step is all the more cynical as this year is the 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as well," he added.

Soviet troops reached Tallinn on Sept. 22, 1944. By that time, German forces had already left the country; Estonia's blue, black and white tricolor flag flew atop Tallinn's Pikk Hermann tower, and Acting Prime Minister Otto Tief's government was in office.

Soviet Army veterans and some Russian-speaking residents celebrate Sept. 22 as the anniversary of the liberation of Tallinn from German occupation.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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