The parade on Red Square began with a speech by Vladimir Putin. In it, the Russian president stated that disunity among nations had caused the Second World War, but that victory over the “terrible forces of totalitarianism will remain forever in the history of mankind as the supreme triumph of life and reason over death and barbarism”.
The parade saw the first public appearance of some brand-new Arctic hardware: the Pantsir-SA anti-aircraft missile-and-gun complex and the Tor-M2DT anti-aircraft missile system, as well as support vehicles specially designed for the Far North.
They were joined by various models of the Tiger and Typhoon armored vehicles, as well as equipment based on the Armata universal combat platform, plus self-propelled howitzers and artillery units. Among them were some of Russia's most formidable weapons: the Yars and Topol-M strategic intercontinental ballistic missile systems, alongside the Iskander operational-tactical complex.
This year, Victory Parades were held in 28 cities throughout Russia, involving more than 140,000 troops and over 2,000 vehicles and pieces of equipment.
Why the May 9 parade is symbolic for Russia
The May 9 parade is an event of nationwide significance, says the retired head of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel-General Viktor Yesin.
“It is at once a symbol of devotion to tradition, a demonstration of strength and a message.” The essence of the parade is encapsulated in the words of Emperor Alexander III, nicknamed the “Peacemaker”: “Russia has only two allies—its army and navy,” explains the retired general.
This, he says, underpins Russia’s political creed: the country is a modern power capable of defending its interests, both diplomatically and militarily. “That’s why every parade is symbolic,” adds Yesin.
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