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The BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow
"The Red Army appeared to crumble in the face of such a blitzkrieg"
 real 28k

Friday, 22 June, 2001, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Russia remembers Nazi invasion
Candles lit outside Moscow's tomb of the unknown soldier
Soviet soldiers had one gun for every two men
Russia has observed a minute's silence to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

Barbarossa facts
More than 20m Soviet dead
Three million invading soldiers
3,580 tanks
750,000 horses
600,000 vehicles
1,830 aircraft
2,900km-long front from Arctic to Black Sea
Commemorations taking place all over the former Soviet Union began at 0400 - the moment Germany launched its surprise offensive.

In Brest, on the western border of Belarus - one of the first towns to be over-run - hundreds of veterans threw wreaths into the river in honour of fallen comrades.

In Moscow, elderly veterans weighed down with medals lit candles by the tomb of the unknown soldier outside the Kremlin.

Tragic date

In a televised address, President Vladimir Putin said 22 June was one of the most tragic dates in the country's history, the consequences of which were still being felt.

Josef Stalin
Stalin: Did not go into shock
He warned that the roots of fascism were still alive in the form of extremism and international terrorism.

The Nazi invasion of the USSR, known as operation Barbarossa, was one of the biggest military operations the world has ever seen, involving three million soldiers.

Newly declassified documents put on display in Moscow underline how unprepared the Soviet army was: in many garrisons there was only one rifle for every two soldiers.

German thanks

The papers also put to rest the legend that Stalin went into shock and was incapable of working for days - they show he put in a full day's work on 22 June.

Veterans outside the tomb of the unknown soldier in Moscow
Nearly every Soviet family was touched by the war
The bodies of Soviet soldiers continue to be found in Russia - 800 are to be buried on Friday.

On the eve of the anniversary, German President Johannes Rau said Germans would never forget the more than 20 million people who died as a result of the war in the former Soviet territories.

He said Germans were thankful for the trust Russians now had in Germany.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder issued a statement describing 22 June 1941 as a day of "horror, sorrow and destruction".

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