This year, Russia’s celebrations of Victory Day – which marks the defeat of the Nazi regime in World War II – take on particular symbolism, with a military parade to demonstrate its war might.
What marks Victory Day?
Victory Day commemorates the European victory of the Allies over the Nazi Germany regime at the end of the Second World War, on May 8, 1945. In countries under the influence of the former Soviet Union, from 1967 onwards, Victory Day began to be celebrated. commemorated on May 9, referring to the day of the capitulation of Nazi forces to Soviet troops, and became a public holiday. In most western European countries, Victory Day continued to be celebrated on 8 May.
What does Victory Day 2022 mean for Russia?
In recent weeks, Western intelligence has spread the message that the Kremlin would like to celebrate May 9 this year with a major victory in the war in Ukraine.
However, in recent days, the Russian authorities have deflated expectations regarding any military success until Victory Day, although they do not give up celebrating the date with the pomp and circumstance of other years, taking the opportunity to organize a military parade in Red Square. , in Moscow, to show off its weapons power.
Not even during the difficult years of the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, did Russia stop celebrating Victory Day, only granting the postponement of the festivities.
What festivities are you planning for this year?
In the midst of an invasion of Ukraine – which President Vladimir Putin has dubbed a “special military operation” – the Kremlin promised a military parade this Monday with more than 10,000 troops, 62 fighter planes and 15 war helicopters.
During the ceremonies, eight Mig-29 fighter planes are scheduled to write the letter Z in the sky, a symbol adopted by supporters of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
During preparations for this year’s celebration in Russia at the end of April, the streets of central Moscow were closed to allow dozens of military vehicles that were rehearsing the May 9 parade.
At the head of the long line of vehicles were those carrying long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons warheads.
What other former Soviet republics still celebrate Victory Day?
Most republics that belonged to the Soviet Union, as well as several countries that were under its influence, still celebrate this day today, with different names and with different models (some preserve the holiday, others only remember it with small festivities). .
This year, because of the war in Ukraine, several countries are planning more modest and discreet celebrations.
In the case of the self-proclaimed breakaway republic of Transnistria, in Moldova, the May 9 military parade was even cancelled, after a series of terrorist attacks that indicated the possibility that Russian military intervention could extend to this territory.
Will the Russian celebrations this year have international guests?
The Kremlin has already justified with the fact that it is not a “round date” the absence of invitations to personalities from other countries to attend the military parade in Moscow.
In 1995, on the occasion of the celebration of 50 years of the European victory of the Second World War, many world leaders converged in Moscow, in what was the first major state event after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In 2015, in celebration of the 70th anniversary, the presidents of countries such as India and China were present, but most Western leaders boycotted the ceremony, because of the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.
In 2020, the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of Victory Day were postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What meaning does President Putin attach to Victory Day?
Several analysts agree that Putin will bet on the May 9 demonstrations as a demonstration of Russian military might, while at the same time he will seek to use the occasion to model his narrative of a leader who was forced to get involved in a war in Ukraine to protect the interests of the Russian-speaking population.
How many Victory Day celebrations can Putin still preside over?
In 2021, Putin signed a law that will allow him to continue as President of Russia for another 14 years, until 2036.
If he achieves this feat, in 2036 Putin will have completed 36 years in the Kremlin, more than Stalin, who was President for 29 years.