Monday, July 22, 2024

Moscow’s lackluster parade commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany

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Parade in Red Square in Moscow, to remember the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. | Photo: EFE

There were indeed large parades to remember the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. But this year, perhaps due to the domestic influence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Red Square did not shine.

What caught observers’ attention most was that hardly a tank had passed and there were no overflights of fighter jets. The tank was the old but mighty T-34 that wiped out the Germans and was among those who recaptured Stalingrad, won the Battle of the Kursk Arches, and liberated Ukraine, then a Soviet republic.

In the five conflict years (1940-1945) of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviets lost just over 20 million lives. World War II started in 1939.

The first Victory Parade was on May 9, 1945, just a week after Hitler committed suicide in Berlin. It began with a small cavalry charge led by General Grigory Zhukov before the eyes of Stalin and other communist leaders at the Kremlin wall.

With the war in Ukraine and its losses to the Russian forces, it was a much lesser show. President Putin’s rhetoric remained. In a 10-minute speech, the president repeated slogans he has repeated many times since the invasion of Ukraine last year. He insisted that the world was at a turning point and that Russia was still engaged in a national battle for its future.

He accused the “Western globalist elites” of sowing Russophobia and aggressive nationalism, while Ukrainians had become “hostages of a coup” and “the ambitions of the West”.

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However, the Kremlin chief did not address the challenges facing Russia as his forces prepare for the expected major counteroffensive in Ukraine, nor chart any paths to victory.

The speech came after Russian forces launched another massive barrage of rockets early Tuesday morning, mostly in Kiev. Ukraine claims to have shot down 23 of the 25 missiles with no casualties reported. It was the second consecutive night of major Russian airstrikes and the fifth so far this month.

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