World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia on Saturday carries out a dazzling Victory Day parade at the Red Square here to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War.
According to Chinese Xinhuanet, the high-profile procession, the climax of a series of Russian commemorative events, came as the Ukraine crisis, among other issues, is plunging Russia-West relations to the lowest point since the Cold War.
Against such a background, analysts say, the Red Square parade is meant to showcase Russia's great power and unyielding will in front of Western pressure and its determination against attempts at rewriting history and challenging the postwar order.
SHOW OF MILITARY PROWESS
Holding large-scale celebrations on the quinquennial and decennial anniversaries of the victory of the Great Patriotic War is a routine in Russia.
This year, confronted with economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation and military threat from the United States and Europe, Moscow sees no reason to discard the tradition, only good reason to make it even more impressive.
Among the celebrations the most eye-catching is the Red Square military parade on Saturday, which will be the biggest ever held in modern Russia.
Russian authorities said over 16,500 soldiers will take part in the procession, a 50 percent increase from the one in 2010, and around 200 units of military weaponry and equipment will be on display.
Eye-catchers include the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system, high-end armored personnel carriers, high-precision artillery systems, and Su-30 and Su-35 fighter jets.
Meanwhile, smaller parades are to take place in 27 other Russian cities, as well as in the capitals of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. And naval parades are planned at the five major bases of the Russian Navy.
BREAKAWAY FROM DIPLOMATIC ENCIRCLEMENT
The parade is not only a military show but a diplomatic event. President Xi Jinping of China and leaders of some two dozen other nations are present, and military units from 10 foreign countries will join the procession.
However, Western leaders are conspicuously absent. Given their divergence with Russia on the Ukraine issue, it is no surprise that they are not so enthusiastic about appearing at the event.
Earlier reports said the United States would be represented by its ambassador to Russia, France by a ministerial representative, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would come to Moscow on May 10.
And Moscow has slammed the United States and the EU for discouraging some European leaders from attending Russian celebrations.
However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that some Western leaders' absence from the event "will not spoil its festive atmosphere and the scale of the holiday."
PRESERVATION OF TRUE HISTORY
Through the high-profile commemoration, Russia also intends to reiterate its determination to defend the true history, as Moscow has recently been dragged into a war of words with the West over its role in WWII.
The sparring erupted in January when Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said that "the First Ukrainian Front and Ukrainians liberated Auschwitz concentration camp."
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski later went even further, saying that he was considering holding an international ceremony to commemorate the end of WWII with EU leaders on May 8 in Gdansk.
The remarks irritated Moscow. Putin has on various occasions blasted attempts to tamper with WWII history, warning that "attempts to rewrite the history of WWII could open the gate for the revival of Nazism."
The Russian leader said such attempts are aimed at undermining Russia's power and moral authority and depriving it of its status of a victorious nation.
Putin urged the Victory Day Celebration Organizing Committee to stand up to the challenge, and to tell the world about the truth and the contribution of the Soviet people to the victory over Nazism.Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Mayıs 2015, 11:02