An estimated 24 million Soviet citizens lost their lives in the war. Hardly a single family was untouched by the terror of Nazi Germany.
Below is a piece from the Guardian.
Putin, meanwhile, who watched Saturday's parade seated next to Chinese President Xi Jinping, shrugged off the Western snub.
"Everyone we wanted to see was here," he said in televised remarks Saturday evening.
But he also thanked the Soviet Union's key WWII allies - the United States, Britain and France - for their "contribution" to victory as well as all those who battled against the Nazis in Germany.
Speaking on Saturday to Czech President Milos Zeman, one of the few European leaders who flew to Moscow for the festivities, Putin said a thaw in relations with the West was due.
"It was not us who initiated the chill in relations with Europe but I hope that thanks to politicians like you we will manage not only to revive them completely but to also move forward," Putin said.
The Czech leftist leader, for his part, said he was confident that "normal ties will replace that chill."
Saturday's festivities in Moscow were rife with nationalist pride with people carrying portraits of soldiers through the streets.
Like Putin, many Russians shrugged off the Western no-show as they celebrated Victory Day well into the night, singing war-era songs and celebrating and honoring their veterans.
Earlier in the day, over half a million people marched through central Moscow with portraits of their relatives who fought in the war, in the biggest march during Putin's 15-year tenure as on-and-off president.
The 62-year-old joined the procession on Red Square, carrying a portrait of his veteran father Vladimir in his hand.