A military display has taken place in Moscow’s Red Square on the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in WW2.
Vladimir Putin began his speech by addressing the citizens of Russia and the military. He congratulated them on Victory Day.
Putin said that today the “civilization is again at a decisive turning point, a ‘real war’ has been unleashed against Russia, but we have repulsed international terrorism, we will protect the residents of Donbas, and ensure our own security. There are no unfriendly peoples for us, we want to see the future peaceful, free and stable,” he said. Any ideology of superiority is criminal, Putin says.
Putin then mentioned “Russophobia” all over the world and said that the Ukrainian people became hostages of a coup d'état and “a criminal regime of its Western masters.”
Drone attack on the Kremlin
The aviation part of the parade was cancelled. Russia’s authorities did not announce in advance whether the aerial part would be held. Launching drones in Moscow was prohibited several days ago after a drone attack on the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin’s press service blamed the attack on Ukraine.
“We regard these actions as a planned terrorist act and an attempt on the life of the President of the Russian Federation, carried out on the eve of Victory Day, the 9 May parade, at which the presence of foreign visitors is also planned,” the Kremlin commented on the attack.
Photo: a drone exlosion over the Kremlin
The parade was not cancelled despite the attack. Reporters asked Putin’s spokesman Peskov whether the military display would be held in a shortened mode, but he denied this.
“This will be a regular parade. That’s all I can tell you. the president will deliver a speech, as it usually happens,” the Kremlin representative said.
Moscow’s Red Square is closed due to preparations for the parade between 27 April and 10 May.
No usual meeting between Putin and WW2 veterans will be held in the Kremlin this year as well.
Peskov promised that during the parade “increased measures will be taken to ensure security.” At the same time, the UK intelligence notes that “the timing of the UAV strike on the Kremlin a few days before Victory Day shows Russia’s increasing vulnerability to such attacks and has almost certainly raised the threat perception of the Russian leadership over the Victory Day events”.
The British Defence Ministry also believes that the decisions of the authorities were influenced by potential protests and public discontent over the war in Ukraine.
Leaders seven countries arrived in Moscow for the parade: President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Alyaksandar Lukashenka.
No foreign leaders attended the 2022 Victory Day parade. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan did not hold Victory Day parades last year due to coronavirus restrictions.
Over 20 Russian cities cancelled Victory Day parades this year. The cities of Kaluga, Ryazan, Oryol, Saratov, Gusev, Lipetsk, Yelets, and Tyumen have cancelled their military display “out of safety concerns”.
Kursk cancelled the military display “considering the current situation”, and Belgorod did the same thing “in order not to provoke the opponent by a large gathering of military equipment and servicemen” in the centre of the city. Verstka notes that the authorities of the Krasnodar region have not formally announced the cancellation of parades in Krasnodar and Sochi, but said that military equipment can only be seen in Novorossiysk this year. The governor of the Bryansk region Alexander Bogomaz said that this year the authorities will not be able to set up “the festivities the way we would like to see them.”
‘Immortal regiment’ cancelled
Nationwide ‘Immortal regiment’ processions have been cancelled this year as well.
“By this time, a number of regions had already refused because of the threat, [in particular] the Republic of Crimea. This is still a single indivisible thing, the Immortal Regiment procession, if somewhere people do not have such an opportunity, let’s use other options,” said Elena Tsunaeva, co-chair of the movement, and a State Duma MP.
Tsunaeva suggested that people post photos of their family members who fought in WW2, and to put them on their clothes, cars, and the movement’s website.
‘Immortal regiment’ processions took part in Seoul, Ankara, Paris, Colombo, Madrid, Rome, Beirut, Sidney, Beijing, and Buenos Aires, as well as video game Minecraft.
The ‘Immortal regiment’ procession in Minecraft