This past Sunday was the 65th anniversary of the Allied victory over the Nazi regime. Brighton Beach, home to the largest Russian-speaking population in the US, witnessed scores of veterans parade down Brighton Beach Avenue. Traffic stopped, everyone dropped what they were doing and came out to cheer, cry and thank the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices six-and-a-half decades ago.
May 9 is the most cherished holiday in Russia and many of the other former Soviet republics. Every year, veterans of World War II put on their uniforms and decorate them with medals. The years of this tradition are numbered, for the youngest veterans are now 80+ years old.
Paul Birman was born in Moscow and moved to Chicago in the 1990s. He finished school and worked a variety of jobs before moving to New York on Halloween, 2008, to pursue a full-time career in visual arts. Birman currently freelances as a photographer and camera operator. You can see his portfolio at his website.