The monument immortalises the Russian-French brotherhood of arms. It is composed of two figures – a French pilot and a Russian aviation mechanic. Granite pylons bear bronze plaques with the Normandy-Neman Regiment’s emblem and the inscription in Russian and French: “In honour of the Russian and French comrades in arms.”
The ceremony began with a ceremonial march by an honour guard representing the three branches of the armed forces. The flags of Russia and France were then raised and each country’s national anthem was played. Mr Putin and Mr Chirac reviewed the honour guard and laid a joint wreath at the monument.
At the moment the cloth decorated with the regiment’s emblem was lifted from the monument, two groups of four fighter planes – Russian Su-27 and French Mirage aircraft – flew in a single mixed row through the sky above Le Bourget.
French and Russian veterans of the Normandy-Neman Regiment were present at the ceremony.