Why didn't the air show go ahead?  Russians say it was the weather, but experts have a different explanation

Rehearsals were still taking place on May 8, but the big air parade was canceled on May 9 © Reuters

Why was there no big Russian army air parade on 9 May, as we have become accustomed to in recent years? According to Russia, the weather was not good enough and therefore it was simply not possible. A fallacy, say more and more international experts. They talk about fear of sabotage and too little military equipment.

The 1945 victory over Nazi Germany was celebrated in Moscow on 9 May. Traditionally, this happens with a speech by Vladimir Putin, but also with an air show in which the Russian army shows how many planes and weapons it has. That flyover was not there this year. Officially because the weather wasn’t good enough, although little credence was given from the start.

Fear of sabotage?

Eastern Europe expert Sergej Sumlenny says in the German newspaper picture to know what the reason for the cancellation of the air parade was: fear of sabotage. “The exact times of the parade and the routes to be followed were known, increasing the risk of sabotage. And nothing could have a bigger impact than a plane being shot down. That would have been an embarrassment to the whole world,” said Sumlenny.

Too little equipment?

Another reason that is sometimes suggested is that the Russian army has suffered so many material losses in Ukraine that an air parade to be proud of was simply not possible. At least 200 Russian aircraft have been destroyed during the war, as have many other military vehicles and weapons, according to Ukrainian authorities.

“The Russians have too few planes available to hold the air parade,” said Babak Taghvaee, an aviation expert. the sun† “A Russian source confided to me that they chose not to hold the parade because few planes were allowed to fly. Their great weakness could have been exposed, namely that they do not have enough SU-34 fighters.” According to Taghvaee, Putin goes for perfection and did not want to show weakness.

Similar signals also came from the military think tank RUSI, although the lack of experienced pilots and the pressure on the Russian army were also mentioned as reasons for the cancellation. “There was little capacity left to put together a high-quality show,” it sounded. The American business newspaper Forbes also blames the canceled air parade on a lack of manpower and aircraft, which would have revealed much to attentive onlookers around the world about the strength – or lack thereof – of the Russian army. A lack of fuel cannot be ruled out either.

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