The great Russian parade despite the coronavirus


Every year on May 9, Russia remembers the day when the Soviet Union announced the end of World War II and the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. The event is remembered as Victory Day and celebrated every year with a large military parade. This year’s parade, which had been postponed due to coronavirus, was held on June 24: although there are still many cases of contagion in Russia, it was organized as if the coronavirus did not exist. According to the international press, Russian President Vladimir Putin needed it in view of an important referendum with which he wants to modify the Constitution, so that he can continue to govern.

As usual, Victory Day was celebrated in dozens of cities, from Kamchatka, on the Pacific Ocean, to Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. But even this year, when the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazis falls, the most important parade was organized in Red Square, the main square in Moscow, where the Kremlin is located.

In addition to the means and fighter planes, over 10,000 soldiers and veterans marched, and practically no masks were seen. Putin was obviously also present, he too without a mask: the New York Times he wrote that he has spent “most of the past three months isolated in his country residence.”

June 24 was chosen as the day for the parade also because it is the day when, in 1945, Josif Stalin’s Soviet Union celebrated the victory against the Nazis for the first time. The ceremony was later resumed in the 1960s by Leonid I. Brezhnev, interrupted by the fall of the Soviet Union and re-established in 1995 by Boris Yeltsin.

The leaders of Serbia, Moldova and Belarus were present at the Moscow parade. Others who were supposed to attend the ceremony on May 9 were not present. Nor did the president of Kyrgyzstan participate, because two members of his delegation had tested positive for coronavirus. However, there were troops and delegations from different foreign states and the New York Times he wrote that “the largest representative of a foreign country was the Chinese one”.

In addition to those who marched and the people present on the institutional stage, there were also – albeit less than in the past – thousands of spectators on the street, despite the mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin had invited citizens to watch the event on television. Speaking of all the unmasked soldiers, the Russian government said that before the ceremony they had been in solitary confinement, without contact with other people who should not have been parading. IS BBC he added that all official guests “were asked to do a coronavirus test.” Several images show, however, that, in addition to the almost total absence of masks, no particular precautions have been taken to ensure spacing.

The prevailing idea is that Putin wanted the parade to take place in order to gain consensus in view of the referendum necessary to change the Constitution: if approved, it could remain in power even after 2024, when its current mandate expires and when, according to the current laws, could not reapply. Thanks to the constitutional changes Putin, who is 67 years old and has governed Russia since 2000, could remain in power until 2036.

– Also read: Twenty years of Putin

Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s Red Square on June 24 (Ramil Sitdikov, Host Photo Agency via AP)

The referendum, initially scheduled for April, will be held on July 1st. Some independent polls done in the last few days and cited by New York Times They say Putin’s popularity has never been so low in the twenty years he has come to power.

– Also read: Putin’s popularity and the coronavirus

Russia is currently the third largest country in the world in terms of confirmed coronavirus cases, behind the United States and Brazil and ahead of India and the United Kingdom. So far there have been more than 600 thousand cases recorded, with more than 8 thousand reported dead. The latest available data speak, for June 24, of 7 thousand new cases. Less than in May, when there were often more than 10 thousand a day, but still many.

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