War overshadows Victory Day, Russia’s celebratory holiday

day of the victory, Russia’s most important secular holiday, celebrates two tenets central to the country’s identity: military might and moral rectitude. But the war in Ukraine undermines both this year.

The holiday, which falls on Tuesday, marks the 78th anniversary of Germany’s surrender in World War II after a relentless Red Army offensive pushed German troops from Stalingrad deep in Russia to Berlin, some 2,200 kilometers (1,300 miles).

The Soviet Union lost at least 20 million people in the war; The suffering and bravery that went into the German defeat have been touchstones ever since.

However, many regions canceled their May 9 celebrations over fears that the events could be targets of Ukrainian attacks. Moscow’s famous military parade in Red Square will go ahead after Russia’s allegation of an attempted Ukrainian Drone attack on the Kremlinwhose towers rise up next to the parade venue.

Despite all the fearsome armor that will snarl through the square, Russia’s failure to make gains in Ukraine spoils the image of its army’s invincibility.

With considerable swathes of neighboring country captured in the first weeks of the invasion, the Russian campaign saw an aborted attempt to invade Kiev, retreats in northern and southern Ukraine, and an inability to take Bakhmut, a small town of questionable value, despite months from extraordinarily cruel fight.

President Vladimir Putinwill certainly, in his speech during the parade, praise the Red Army’s determination to eradicate Nazism and reiterate his assertion that Russia has the moral superiority Fight against an alleged Nazi regime in Ukraine, a country with a Jewish president.

But the rockets falling on Ukrainian civilian targets have condemned Russia worldwide, while the Western countries, which have colluded with Moscow to defeat Nazi Germany, are sending billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine.

Analysts are divided over whether the May 3 drone incident in the Kremlin was a real attack or a “false flag” fabricated to justify increasing the ferocity of Russian rocket fire in Ukraine. Both statements risk undermining Russians’ sense of security, already reeling from attacks likely perpetrated by Ukraine or by domestic opponents, which have escalated sharply in recent weeks.

Two freight trains derailed in bombings in the Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine, this week. In particular, the authorities of the region did not blame Ukraine, which may be an attempt to gloss over Ukraine’s ability to carry out sabotage.

However, Bryansk authorities claimed in March that two people were shot dead when suspected Ukrainian saboteurs entered the region. The region has also seen sporadic cross-border shelling, including last month when four people were killed.

Three prominent supporters of the war in Ukraine were also killed or injured in their home areas elsewhere in Russia. A car bomb attack last week in the Nizhny Novgorod region that officials blamed on Ukraine and the United States seriously injured nationalist writer Zakhar Prilepin and killed his driver.

Last year, Darya Dugina, a commentator for a nationalist TV channel, died in a car bomb attack outside Moscow, and authorities claimed Ukrainian intelligence was behind the April death in St Petersburg of prominent pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, who was killed when a bomb in a statuette he was presented with at a restaurant party exploded.

Amid heightened security concerns, authorities also canceled one of Victory Day’s most notable celebrations, the “Immortal Regiment” processions, in which crowds of citizens take to the streets with portraits of relatives who died or served in World War II.

The processions convey an air of genuine emotion, in sharp contrast to the obedient, stone-faced soldiers who march through Red Square during the strictly regimented military parades, which vary little from year to year.

Though the processions move and are impressively large, “authorities thought the risks would become prohibitive,” said Russian analyst Dmitry Oreshkin, now at Free University in Riga, Latvia. “If there are any drones flying there, penetrating the impenetrable border… then why can’t they drop anything on this pillar?”


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