A Foreigner’s Guide to Surviving Victory Day

Practical tips on navigating WWII conversations with Russians


CNN POINTTeachers, Businessmen and Students of the Moscow expat community! You are about to embark on the Great Crusade, through which we must endure once per year.

Yes, my friends, Victory Day is upon us.

Each year, Russians dedicate an entire weekend to celebrating their victory in the Second World War. And each year, it is one of the best weekends in Moscow. Nuclear missiles are paraded through the streets, fireworks shrapnel rains down on the embankments, and the bars are packed.

But Victory Day weekend is also one of the most perilous in Moscow. Russian patriotism reaches feverish heights, making it difficult to avoid talking about World War Two. Or, as your Russian interlocutors will no doubt insist on calling it, the Great Patriotic War against fascism.

This can lead to undesirable outcomes, such as lost friends, breakups, and/or bar fights.

Luckily for you, foreigner, most conversations you have with Russians on WWII will be highly predictable. This puts you at a distinct advantage, as you can prepare in advance to hold the line at clubs, parks, and craft beer bars across town this weekend.

But why ruin the holiday, frantically running Google searches with a beer in your hand? We’ve done the work for you. Just keep this handy guide accessible on your phone, and consult as needed. You can thank us later.

Shahid Ghuman
Shahid Ghuman
Shahid Ghuman is versatile journalist. He have 20 years experience in journalism. Shahid Ghuman is not only journalists but also anchor and host of various television programs. He is Editor of CNN POINT.