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Putin’s one-tank military parade was an embarrassment to Russia

Putin’s one-tank military parade was an embarrassment to Russia
  • Analysts noted that the mini-Russian Victory Day military parade on Tuesday not only showed Russia’s concerns about possible Ukrainian attacks, but also highlighted the country’s depleted military resources.
  • May 9 is a public holiday in Russia that commemorates the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II.
  • It is arguably the most important day in the general calendar and Russian history.
  • The appearance of only one Soviet-era tank in Russia’s massive military parade raised eyebrows.

The Soviet T-34 tank, the only tank on display at Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9, 2023, drives across Red Square.

contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Political analysts said that Russia’s mini-military parade for Victory Day not only demonstrated Moscow’s concerns about possible Ukrainian attacks, but also highlighted the country’s depleted military resources due to the conflict.

May 9 is a public holiday in Russia that commemorates the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II. It is arguably the most important day in Russia’s general calendar and history, and forms an essential part of the country’s modern national identity.

This year’s military parade across Moscow’s Red Square and celebrations across the country were noticeably smaller than in previous years or canceled entirely, with six regions (including annexed Crimea) and at least 20 cities halting revivals. her memory.

In Moscow on Tuesday, the military parade was more somber, with no flying parades or “Immortal Regiment” processions — which are usually large-scale public events commemorating those killed in World War II. There were also far fewer troops and military equipment on display than in previous years.

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Particularly remarkable was the fact that only one Stalin-era tank was on display across Red Square, analysts noted.

“It would be hard to picture a more apt symbol of Russia’s declining military fortunes than the sight of a solitary Stalin-era tank pouring across Red Square during the country’s traditional Victory Day celebrations on May 9,” says Peter Dickinson, editor of UkraineAlert. Journal of the Atlantic Council, commented Tuesday.

For the past two decades, Vladimir Putin has used D-Day to highlight the re-emergence of modern Russia as a military superpower, with dozens of the latest tanks taking part in each annual parade. But this year, the only tank on display was the World War II-era T-34. the second “.

Victory Day parades in previous years have seen Russia display long lines of tanks. Here, Russian T-90A tanks roll past during a parade on Red Square.

Vasily Maksimov/AFP/Getty Images

Dickinson noted that “inevitably, the embarrassing absence of tanks in this year’s D-Day parade was widely interpreted as further evidence of Russia’s catastrophic losses in Ukraine”, a point echoed by the British Ministry of Defense.

Commenting on Wednesday, the ministry noted that “the formation of Russia’s annual Victory Day parade in Red Square highlighted the challenges of strategic materiel and communications” The Russian military faces 15 months into the war in Ukraine.

In its latest intelligence update on Twitter, the ministry noted, “It was reported that more than 8,000 personnel took part in the parade, but the majority were auxiliary and paramilitary forces and students from military training institutions,” adding that “the only personnel from the deployable formations are regular forces.” The troops were teams of railway troops and military police.”

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A Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Security concerns were the ostensible reason for the downsizing of Russia’s D-Day events, with an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin last week (which Russia blamed on Ukraine and the United States which both denied) serving as a precursor to – and justification for – a less significant event.

But military analysts noted that the Kremlin was also likely keen to avoid any opportunity for public criticism of its invasion, which it still sees as a “private military operation” — the only indication of war on Tuesday was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim of masses in the country. Red Square that “a real war is being waged against our Motherland” despite the fact that Russia has invaded its neighbor Ukraine.

Referring to the only solitary T-34 tank on display, the UK Ministry of Defense said that despite the heavy losses in Ukraine, Russia could have sent more armored vehicles, but that “it is possible that the authorities refrained from doing so because they wanted to avoid domestic criticism about giving The priority of marches over combat operations.

Dickinson of the Atlantic Council also noted that banning this year’s “Immortal Regiment” parades, which are usually hugely popular when the Russian public gets a chance to commemorate loved ones lost in World War II, “was an even bigger blow” and that the Kremlin was on board. Most likely concerned that family members of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine might seek to participate.

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Participants hold flags and portraits of people, including Red Army soldiers, during the Immortal Regiment’s march on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2022.

Shamil Zomatov | Reuters

Dickinson noted that “with Russian officials still denying the dire consequences of invading Ukraine, the last thing the Kremlin wanted was for thousands of bereaved relatives to gather publicly and draw attention to the scale of the tragedy.”

Obviously, Ukraine was quick to comment on the mini-Victory Day parade.

The official account of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on Twitter sarcastically said that “Modern Russian military equipment can be found more easily at Ukrainian military awards exhibitions than at the Victory Exhibition in Moscow,” while Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko said on Twitter that he All of Ukraine was laughing at one Russian tank.

Ukraine continues to distance itself from Russia’s sphere of influence and orbit, and on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky Presenter A bill to the Verkhovna Rada proposes that May 8 be the “Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in World War II” instead of May 9, as in Russia and other former Soviet republics.

From now on, he said, May 9 would be known in Ukraine as “Europe Day”, and Zelensky noted that “we will celebrate our historical unity – the unity of all Europeans who destroyed Nazism and will defeat the Russian”, a word used by Ukraine. To describe “Russian fascism”.