MOSCOW (Sputnik) — During the marches, people carry photographs of their ancestors who participated in the war.
The first Immortal Regiment march took place in 2012 in Tomsk at the initiative of local TV journalists. About 6,000 marched along the city’s central street with 2,000 photos of war veterans.
The total number of participants reached about 180,000 in 2013 and grew to half a million on May 9, 2014, as Immortal Regiment marches took place in more cities and villages, after which this civil initiative became part of the federal program on preparations for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory in WWII.
On May 9, 2015, the march on Tverskaya Street and further to Red Square in Moscow was led by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who carried a portrait of his father, a war veteran. According to official data, over 500,000 people took part in the Immortal Regiment march in Moscow alone. The number of participants across the whole of Russia exceeded 12 million.
The movement publishes online People’s Chronicles that contain over 300,000 accounts of events in the lives of war veterans.
The Immortal Regiment-Moscow regional patriotic public organization was registered in March 2014. The movement runs an online Memory Book (over 150,000 biographies).
Speaking at a session of the Victory Organising Committee in early April 2016, the Russian president noted that the Immortal Regiment was an "absolutely honest and sincere project" that should retain these qualities and develop freely.
Brisbane (Australia), San Juan (Malta) and Zurich (Switzerland) join the initiative on May 9, 2016 for the first time.