Numerous Russian citizens gathered in Red Square today to celebrate Russia’s annual Victory Day parade, commemorating the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany during World War II.
The event has long been a crucial part of President Putin’s agenda, used to rally public support, showcase the nation’s military might, and voice grievances against perceived historical injustices from Western countries.
The parade in Moscow didn't have any modern tanks, infantry fighting vehicles or aviation. It was one of the smallest in Russian history, taking less than 10 minutes.
There was one T-34 tank that took part in WWII. No Iskanders, Armata tanks, aviation. The walking part of the… pic.twitter.com/WA0EIYnEaj
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) May 9, 2023
This year’s parade saw over 10,000 participants and 125 units of various weapons and equipment on display, as announced by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
In his address, President Putin praised Russian troops involved in the “special military operation” in Ukraine, emphasizing the nation’s pride in their service. However, no mention was made of the high casualties suffered by Russian forces, estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
For our valiant armed forces, for the Victory, Hooray!” Putin concluded his speech at the Victory Parade
An anthem sounds on Red Square, solemn volleys thunder. pic.twitter.com/7Q3xRRuAHR
— Spriter (@Spriter99880) May 9, 2023
Putin likened the ongoing conflict in Ukraine to the challenge Moscow faced when Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The president hailed Russian forces as heroes fighting against a Western threat that has forgotten the Soviet Union’s pivotal role in defeating Nazi Germany. “The whole country rallied to support our heroes. Everyone is ready to help, praying for you,” he said, addressing those participating in the operation.
In a show of solidarity, cheers echoed across Red Square, accompanied by a gun salute and the Russian national anthem. The parade featured a more modest display of military hardware than in previous years, with only a single World War II-era T-34 tank showcased and no aviation present.
The parade comes as Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine stretches into its 15th month.
As many as 354,000 Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured, according to new estimates.
Despite the ongoing strife, Putin paid tribute to the armies of the United States, Britain, and other countries that fought against the Germans during the WW2.