Russia celebrates  77th  Victory Day
  • Military parade on Red Square in Moscow

By Sangeeta Saxena

Russian President Vladimir Putin

 New Delhi. 09 May 2022. It was a humane face of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin was seen walking through Red Square holding a portrait of his father, a veteran of the front. On May 9, people in Russian cities and abroad join the Immortal Regiment event marching with portraits of their family members – participants in the Great Patriotic War.

Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden following the Victory Parade on Red Square. The ceremony concluded with the national anthem and a march by the Guard of Honour. The President also laid flowers at the obelisks of the hero-cities and the commemorative sign in honour of the cities conferred with the honorary title of the City of Military Glory. The Russian President also met with Artem Zhoga, the father of Vladimir Zhoga, commander of the Sparta battalion who was killed in Donbass. The President presented to Artem Zhoga the Star of the Hero of Russia awarded to his son posthumously.

 military parade

President of Russia – Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation Armed Forces Vladimir Putin attended a military parade marking the 77th anniversary of Victory in the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War. The parade was reviewed by Defence Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu. The commander of the parade was Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Army General Oleg Salyukov. The parade featured 11,000 servicemembers and 131 pieces of military equipment.

“The loss of each officer and soldier is painful for all of us and an irretrievable loss for the families and friends. The government, regional authorities, enterprises and public organisations will do everything to wrap such families in care and help them. Special support will be given to the children of the killed and wounded comrades-in-arms. The Presidential Executive Order to this effect was signed today,” said Putin in his speech today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

In order to support families of servicepeople and personnel of the federal executive bodies and federal public authorities where military service is required, the personnel of the Russian Federation law enforcement agencies who are participating or have participated in the special military operation in the Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic and Ukraine, the President instructed the Government of the Russian Federation to ensure that higher education establishments set up a special quota for the children of the above categories of servicepeople, including those who were killed (or died) in the line of duty. The Executive Order establishes the procedure of enrolment for students admitted under the special quota. The Executive Order also specifies that entrance examinations to the federal establishments of general education with special names of presidential cadet school, Suvorov military school, Nakhimov naval school, cadet (naval cadet) military corps, cadet corps, Cossack cadet corps are to be waived for the children of servicepeople or personnel who were killed or died, sustained an injury, trauma or illness.

33 parade units of officers

The column marching through Red Square comprised 33 parade units of officers, sergeants and soldiers of all branches of the Armed Forces, personnel of other security, defence and law enforcement agencies, cadets and students of military academies, Young Army members and Cossacks. The parade column of female servicemembers included cadets of six military educational institutions this year: the Military University, the Military Academy of Communications, the Military Logistics Academy, the Military-Space Academy, the Military Air and Space Defence Academy, and the Military Academy of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection (NBC Protection Military Academy).

The mechanised column, headed by the legendary Т-34–85 Victory Tank, featured Taifun-K, Taifun-VDV and Tigr-M armoured vehicles, BMP-2 Berezhok, BMP-3 and Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicles, T-72B3M, Т-90М Proryv and the latest Т-14 Armata tanks, Tornado-G rocket systems, Iskander-M operational tactical missile systems, S-400 Triumf, Buk-M3 and Tor-M2 air defence systems, and Yars strategic systems driving over the cobblestone paving of Red Square. Uran-9 strike robots were carried on truck beds.

This year’s foot column is made up of 33 parade units. It consists of officers, sergeants and soldiers of formations and military units, students and cadets of military educational institutions, pupils of Suvorov and Nakhimov military schools, cadet corps and participants of the All-Russian Yunarmiya movement, as well as representatives of other security agencies of the Federal Security Service, the National Guard Service and the All-Russian Cossack Society.

The parade unit of female military personnel is represented by representatives of 6 military educational institutions of the Russian Ministry of Defence: the Military University, the Military Signal Academy, a branch of the Military CSS Academy, the Military Space Academy, the Military Academy of Aerospace Defence and, for the first time, the Academy of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection.

The mechanized column included 131 units of modern military equipment, as well as historical equipment represented by the legendary T-34-85 tank, which opened the passage of the mechanized column.The range of tanks was represented by T-72B3M, T-90M Proryv and the T-14 tank. The mechanized column also included high-security armoured vehicles of the Typhoon family with various combat modules. Combat vehicles for motorized rifle units are represented by modern BMP-3 (IFV) and BMP-2 (IFV) with Berezhok combat module and promising BMP (IFV) Kurganets-25. Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system, Tornado-S multiple launch rocket system, MSTA-S self-propelled howitzer represent weapons of the missile troops and artillery. Modern medium-and short-range anti-aircraft missile systems Buk-M3 and Tor-M2 present weapons of the army air defence of the Land Forces.  S-400 anti-aircraft missile system represented the air defence systems of the Aerospace Forces. The armament of the Airborne Troops was represented by BMD-4M and BTR-MDM Rakushka airborne assault vehicles. The 106th Guards Airborne Division parade unit on Rakushka armoured personnel carriers included participants of the special military operation to liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics.  The mechanized column also included launchers of Yars missile system, BTR-82A armoured personnel carriers, including promising wheeled armoured personnel carrier on the Boomerang platform In the evening at 22.00, artillery fireworks took place in Moscow.

Putin in his statement reiterated, “ Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it. Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, was openly in the making. Kiev declared that it could attain nuclear weapons. The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us. Thus, an absolutely unacceptable threat to us was steadily being created right on our borders. Let me repeat, we saw the military infrastructure being built up, hundreds of foreign advisors starting work, and regular supplies of cutting-edge weaponry being delivered from NATO countries. The threat grew every day. Russia launched a pre-emptive strike at the aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only correct decision. A decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country.”

Putin also greeted leaders and citizens of foreign states on 77th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War. He sent messages of greetings to the leaders and people of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Lugansk People’s Republic, as well as the peoples of Georgia and Ukraine.

“Victory Day is intimately dear to all of us. There is no family in Russia that was not burnt by the Great Patriotic War. Its memory never fades. On this day, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the heroes march in an endless flow of the Immortal Regiment. They carry photos of their family members, the fallen soldiers who remained young forever, and the veterans who are already gone. I am addressing our Armed Forces and Donbass militia. You are fighting for our Motherland, its future, so that nobody forgets the lessons of World War II, so that there is no place in the world for torturers, death squads and Nazis. We bow our heads to the memory of the Odessa martyrs who were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions in May 2014, to the memory of the old people, women and children of Donbass who were killed in atrocious and barbaric shelling by neo-Nazis. We bow our heads to our fighting comrades who died a brave death in the righteous battle – for Russia,” stated Putin strongly.

It may be recalled that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial plaques in the Foreign Ministry building dedicated to the 77th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, May 6, 2022, had set the stage for the Victory Day narrative. “We must always remember the lessons of history. Even more so since the West is trying to delete these glorious chapters from history and cross out everything that has been accomplished, and not just to equate the victors over Nazism with criminals, but to make us the main culprits of that war, to whitewash Nazism in every possible way, and to encourage Nazi manifestations in modern Europe. We can see this in the Baltic States and Ukraine, where neo-Nazism and new manifestations of anti-Semitism are flourishing under the current Kiev regime with the connivance of the collective West. A propaganda war has been unleashed against the Russian Federation and our people, against any Russian who happens to be in any European, Western or any other country. This is a manifestation of outright racism (this is another form of discrimination, which is now being brought to the point of absurdity), when at the personal level they begin to instill hatred for everything that is connected to the Russian Federation. You can see it yourself. No “punishment” or sanctions can break the will of our people or the Russian leadership which aims to uphold the historical truth and the legitimate interests of the Russian Federation, and to prevent direct threats to our security, culture or history from being created on our borders (as has been done for many years now). All this is now at stake, including the future of the world and what this world will be like. Will it be a unipolar world under the full “command” of the United States (as Washington wants it and as all Western countries have agreed), or will it be fair and democratic,” Lavrov had exhorted.

Russian Foreign Ministry had to refute repeatedly the insinuations about Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons during the special military operation in Ukraine, as Russia calls the conflict in Ukraine. “This is a deliberate lie. Russia firmly adheres to the principle that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it must never be unleashed,” responded the foreign ministry spokesperson. As Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “Russia has never ceased its efforts to reach agreements that would guarantee the prevention of a nuclear war.”

This was definitely a Victory Day with a difference. Amidst insinuations , sanctions , condemnation and reproach Russia justified it’s stand on Ukraine invasion. A day on which traditionally Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany which brought an end to the World War II in Europe, it was a role reversal where  Russia projected its power, prowess , its strong stand to finish neo-nazis in Ukraine and justifying the war of 2022.