The traditional military parade on Red Square will take place as every year, slightly reduced due to the mobilization in Ukraine.

A few days before the famous Victory Day, Moscow got underway. Around Red Square paraded huge tanks, plumed with the scarlet flag of the Soviet Union. In the sky, fighter planes made a noisy ballet. The May 9 military parade had its dress rehearsal. Some passers-by already wore the orange and black colors of the Saint-Georges ribbon on their chests, a symbol of patriotism. Above the capital, eight MiG-29SMTs stood out against the blue of the sky, forming the letter “Z“. In full “special operationWith difficulty, the commemoration of the victory of the Red Army over Nazi Germany will be for Moscow the occasion of a demonstration of force.

SEE ALSO – World War II: why Russia celebrates victory on May 9

This memorial day of theGreat Patriotic Waris essential for the country. According to the Vtsiom polling institute, 69% of the population considers it the most important holiday of the year. On Moscow’s Red Square are exhibited the latest technological inventions and industrial defense innovations, while in Saint Petersburg, military ships parade on the Neva. In schools across the country, students offer cakes and songs to medal-covered veterans, who teach them the importance of defending the homeland.

In 2019, Putin marched at the head of the “March of the Immortal Regiment”, holding a picture of his grandfather. MAXIM SHEMETOV / Reuters

Since 2015 and the annexation of Crimea, a new stage has strengthened the tradition. There “market Regiment immortal”, established by Vladimir Putin, brings together each family provided with the portrait of an ancestor. “Thank you grandfather for the victory!chants the crowd as they walk, while recounting stories received from the past, from the siege of Leningrad to the capture of Berlin. In 2019, the master of the Kremlin himself walked in the front row, a photograph of his grandfather in hand. A year earlier, the Insoumis Jean-Luc Mélenchon had been seen at the head of the march.

A parade slightly down

This year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced such commemorations in 28 Russian cities, which “will involve nearly 65,000 personnel, approximately 2,400 weapon systems and more than 460 aircraft“. Will the Kremlin seek to restore the showcase of its army? At this stage, the preparations do not let observe “no major changes from previous years“Notes Benjamin Gravisse, if only for a slight reduction in the volume of defense equipment, certainly due to the mobilization and the multiple losses suffered in Ukraine.

“The recorded losses do not fit at all with the omnipresent narrative of easy and quick victory. The little they can put forward will be, and most certainly in an ostentatious way, “analyzes the Russia specialist.

Benjamin Gravisse, author of the defense blog Red Samovar.

The Kremlin would have reduced the usual number of equipment by almost 35%, analyzes the specialist of Defense Craig Hooper in the American magazine Forbes. In 2021, more than 12,000 men and 190 vehicles from 35 different weapon systems had paraded in front of officials and veterans. This year, only 131 vehicles will be brought together in Red Square, from 25 different systems. The Russian army, which lost more than 600 tanks in Ukraine, would be “apparently unable to find 10 T-80 battle tanks ready for display“says Craig Hooper.

In the air, 77 combat planes are expected above Red Square, announces the Russian agency TASS. A usual figure, with however the presence of planes “uncommon“, notes the specialist Benjamin Gravisse, citing in particular MiG-29SMT and Su-24MR, as well as the unexpected absence of the Su-34.

The star of the parade will beplane of the apocalypse“, seen Wednesday in the sky of Russia. The message is clear: this Ilyushin IL-80 is supposed to accommodate Vladimir Putin in the event of a nuclear conflict, to direct operations there. On the helicopter side, only 15 machines will be on the parade, against 23 in 2021, notes the magazine Forbeswhich recalls that 39 helicopters have been lost since the beginning of the “special operation“. As for armament, several weapons that can fire nuclear missiles, such as the Iars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic system and the shorter-range Iskander system, will be paraded.

A patrol of eight MiG-29SMT aircraft flew over Moscow’s Red Square in a Z-like flight formation in support of Russian troops. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

Moscow denies planning celebration in Mariupol

If some observers announced May 9 as a deadline in the war waged on Ukraine by the Kremlin, Anna Colin Lebedev, specialist in Russia, rather evokes the opportunity to reaffirm the national narrative. “Maybe we’ll get a history lesson“, she emits, possibly”a strategic announcement that day“. But little more. It is rumored that the Kremlin could declare, officially this time, war on Ukraine. Or even decree general mobilization. “The essence, which unfortunately cannot be guessed beforehand, will be found in Vladimir Putin’s speech. We can expect anything“, anticipates Benjamin Gravisse.

For its part, Ukrainian intelligence said Wednesday that the Kremlin would plan a parade within Mariupol, the port city besieged for two months. Quite a symbol. The main avenues would be “urgently cleared, the debris and the bodies of the dead removed, as well as the ammunition which did not explode», Says the GRU. Make the city of charred buildings and partly deserted a “celebration centerwould be a logistical feat. The Kremlin finally denied on Friday having such an intention. “This year, of course, it is impossible for obvious reasons. But the time will come when a great celebration will take place thereRussian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Apart from taking Mariupol, it can be cynically said that the Russians have little else to show off.“comments Benjamin Gravisse, political scientist, author of the defense blog Red Samovar. “The recorded losses do not fit at all with the ubiquitous narrative of easy and quick victory. The little they can put forward will be, and most certainly in an ostentatious way», Analyzes the specialist of Russia.


SEE ALSO – In Russia, Moscow prepares its military parade celebrating the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945

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