Ukraine War: What is the Victory Day parade in Russia, what did Vladimir Putin say about the west?
Victory Day is viewed as a major public holiday in Russia
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Vladimir Putin turned his attention to the west at this year’s Victory Day parade in Moscow, which took place on Tuesday. The Russian president made a short but turbulent speech, stating that the future of the country rests upon its soldiers.
When footage last Wednesday showed two drones flying over the walls of the Kremlin, many questioned whether the Victory Day parade in Moscow could go ahead. Amid security concerns, more than six regions of Russia scrapped the celebrations but it was decided the parade in Red Square would go ahead.
But what does the national holiday entail and what did the Russian president say about the west in his Victory Day speech?
What is Victory Day in Russia?
Victory Day is viewed as a major public holiday in Russia, where people commemorate the huge sacrifices made by the Soviet Union during WW2, in what is known in the country as the ‘Great Patriotic War’. Celebrations are held across all post-Soviet nations and marches are organised in capital cities.
The most important parade is held in Moscow’s Red Square where Vladimir Putin appears as a keynote speaker and thousands of military personnel assemble. The parade is also an opportunity for Russia to showcase their supposed military might.
During the Victory Day parade in Moscow, wreaths are laid by notable political and military figures to commemorate nearly 27 million citizens who perished between 1941-45.
What did Vladimir Putin say in his victory day speech?
Putin began his speech thanking those who fought on behalf of the ‘motherland’ in WW2, congratulating them for their bravery which ‘saved the world from Nazism’. He outlined that the world is similarly at a key ‘turning point’ now and likened the Ukraine war to the challenge Moscow faced in 1941.
Putin shifted his attention toward the west, outlining that ‘Russophobia’ has been ‘sowed by ‘western global elites’ who are ‘provoking conflicts’. He said that Ukrainian people had become “hostages to a state coup” and part of a larger war against Russia.
He continued: “A real war has been unleashed against our homeland. We have repulsed international terrorism, we will protect the inhabitants of Donbas, we will ensure our security.”
Putin said that the ‘security’ and ‘future’ of Russia rests on their soldiers fighting in Ukraine. At the end of his address, he said: “There’s nothing in the world stronger than our love for the motherland.
“To our victory, Hoorah!”