Home Global News Event Diaries: Moscow’s Lavish Victory Day Celebrations

Event Diaries: Moscow’s Lavish Victory Day Celebrations

Victory Day

Victory Day

Amidst the global pandemic, Russia celebrated its iconic Victory Day Parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the great Patriotic War of 1941-45. The Victory Parade is staged every year on May 9th, but was postponed to June 24th this year in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A splendid display of its martial prowess was witnessed in the Red Square at Moscow as around 13,000 military troops, 75 aircrafts and 234 ironclad vehicles participated in the annual parade that pays homage to the war veterans and about 27 million Soviet people who died in the war. Since Putin came to power, the parade has assumed a sacrosanct status, becoming Russia’s foremost political holiday. Recently, Putin inaugurated the Cathedral of Russian Armed Forces, one of the country’s largest military cathedral, partly dedicated to the absolutely sacred war memory. Putin said that the lessons passed down through ages in the remembrance of the war fuels the Russian citizens and leaders with the “strength to serve the country.” Earlier this week he had published an article in a US magazine The National Interest highlighting the agenda of the west to distort the history of World War II and undermine Russia’s role in the cessation of the catastrophic global combat in europe. The war strikes home with Putin in a deeply personal manner as the war had cost him the life of his brother Viktor during the siege of modern-day St. Petersburg and left his father seriously wounded.

Russia started easing the lockdown this month but mass gatherings remained banned and social distancing norms were ensured to be enforceable as prescribed preventive measures. Mayor Sergei Sobyamin advised people to avoid thronging the streets and opt for viewing the parade on the television from the safe comfort of their homes. Measures deployed to ensure protection against the Corona virus included quarantining of the participatory military troops during rehearsals,sequestering of invited war veterans in a health resort on the outskirts of Moscow, two-chair gap seen in the seating arrangement of the spectators in the Red Square and the customary spray of disinfectants on the chairs meant for the audience. Another important event for Russia, that lay ahead of the parade was the online voting, scheduled for less than 48 hours from the parade for a constitutional amendment that would potentially enable Putin to remain in the Kremlin beyond his term that comes to end in 2024.

French and Chinese Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping, respectively, stayed absent from the event whereas Serbian and Belarusian Presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Alexander Lukashenko marked their presence. Where on the one hand this year’s parade saw the non-participation of 13 Russian cities and big towns with Pskov and Crimea cancelling the celebrations owing to the pandemic, many international military contingents, on the other hand, participated. These included units from ex-Soviet states like Belarus, Uzbekistan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Serbia and Moldova, China, Mongolia and also India.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended the parade along with Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and witnessed the proud participation of the 75-member Tri-service contingent of the Indian Armed Forcesfrom India.