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June 22, 2011
70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union

Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Moscovites and World War II veterans attended a predawn ceremony in downtown Moscow and throughout the day, people gathered at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider outside the Kremlin. Officials held a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb during the day. In St. Petersburg, an early morning ceremony outside a church honored victims of the invasion. In Minsk, Belarus, there were candlelight vigils and re-enactments. (21 images)

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A Belarus honor guard stands in front of eternal fire during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Nazi invasion in the town of Brest, 360 kilometers (223 miles) southwest of Minsk, Belarus, early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Sergei Grits


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People stand in minute of silence in memory of WW II victims at a church, early morning, at the time the Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union 70 years ago outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky



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People dressed as soldiers of Soviet army warm at a campfire near a church, early morning, at the time the Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union 70 years ago outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky



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People light candles near a church in memory of WW II victims, early morning, at the time the Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union 70 years ago, outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky



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People look at actors performing a play about suffering of civilians in WW II near a church, early morning, at the time the Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union 70 years ago outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Dmitry Lovetsky



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Belarusian school boys hold torches as they stand in front of one of the most important Soviet WWII war monuments marking the heroic resistance of the Red Army against the surprise German attack during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Nazi invasion in the town of Brest, 360 kilometers (223 miles) southwest of Minsk, Belarus, early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Brest Fortress defenders contained Nazi troops for a month. AP / Sergei Grits



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Chinese lanterns fly over one of the most important Soviet WWII war monuments marking the heroic resistance of the Red Army against the surprise German attack during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Nazi invasion in the town of Brest, Belarus, early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Sergei Grits



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Belarusians dressed in World War II-style uniforms take part in mock battles between Soviet and Nazi forces during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Nazi invasion in the town of Brest, 360 kilometers (223 miles) southwest of Minsk, Belarus, early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Sergei Grits



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People put candles at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin Wall early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Candles were put around the tomb to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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Moscovites and World War II veterans attend a predawn ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in downtown Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Misha Japaridze



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Bells hang on a tree as a memory of the victims of World War II during a predawn ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in downtown Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Misha Japaridze



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A World War II veteran holds a candle to put at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin Wall early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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World War II veterans attend a predawn ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in downtown Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Misha Japaridze



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World War II veterans attend a predawn ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in downtown Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Misha Japaridze



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Young Moscovites put candles during a predawn ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in downtown Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Misha Japaridze



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People light candles to put them at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin wall early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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World War II veteran Lev Yatsevich stands with a candle at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin wall early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, center, and clergymen stand during a minute of silence as they take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin wall Wednesday, June 22, 2011, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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Russian Orthodox Church clergymen stand under rain as they take part at a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin wall Wednesday, June 22, 2011, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. AP / Sergey Ponomarev



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From lleft: parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev and First Deputy Premier Sergei Ivanov watch honor guards marching duringin a wreath laying ceremony the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin Wall, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. AP / Alexander Zemlianichenko



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From left: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov and Constitutional Court Chairman Valentin Zorkin, take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin Wall, Russia, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. AP / Alexander Zemlianichenko



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