World News

Putin hails army ‘heroes’ and warns off West in WW2 parade

The annual Red Square military parade felt different this time round. And not just because of the spring snowstorm. There were 9,000 people marching across the square. Sounds a lot. But in previous years – before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – the numbers were often higher.

There was less military hardware on display, too, today. The only tank was one T-34. What there were plenty of were references to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Among the participants of the parade were soldiers who’d been fighting there.

“We mark Victory Day at a time when we are carrying out the Special Military Operation,” President Vladimir Putin said in his Red Square address. “Those taking part on the frontline are our heroes.”

In recent days Russia has accused Western nations, including the UK and France, of threatening Russia. President Emmanuel Macron has not ruled out sending ground troops to Ukraine. Today Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the West. Accompanied by more nuclear sabre-rattling.

“Russia will do everything to avoid a global confrontation,” the Kremlin leader said. “But at the same time, we will not allow anyone to threaten us. Our strategic forces are always on combat alertUnder Vladimir Putin, Victory Day has become Russia’s most important secular holiday.

A day for remembering, not only the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany, but also the enormous human cost of that victory – the more than 27 million Soviet citizens killed in what’s known here as the Great Patriotic War. But in many ways Victory Day isn’t just about the past. It’s about Russia now.

If this country today has any kind of national idea, it is the idea of victory. Russians are constantly being told that throughout history their country has come under attack from enemies abroad – like Napoleon and Hitler – and has emerged victorious.

In Russia today the authorities are not just remembering the past. They are weaponising it, to try to justify the present.They want the Russian public to view the war in Ukraine as a continuation of World War Two, so that Russians believe that once again external forces are fighting to destroy Russia. Today’s enemies – Ukraine and the West.

In reality, it was Russia that annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and intervened militarily in the Donbas. And in 2022 it was President Putin who ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

As a consequence of the Ukraine war, something quite extraordinary – and unsettling – is happening in Russia. After the horrors of World War Two, for decades Russians used to say: “We can put up with all kinds of privations. Just so long as there’s no more war.”

That phrase: “No more war.” You would hear it in towns and villages across this giant country. Wherever you’d go. I remember former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev telling me with tears in his eyes that “No more war” was precisely what Russians told him when he travelled the country as Soviet leader.

The message has changed.

In a small town outside Moscow on Thursday I witnessed the unveiling of a war memorial. It is dedicated to Russian soldiers who died in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the war in Chechnya and Russia’s war in Ukraine. A local official made a speech. And what did he tell the adults and children who were gathered there?

“There were always wars. And there will always be wars. It’s human nature. What’s happening in Russia is the normalisation of war in a country that has suffered so much from wars in its past.

Source: BBC

In other news – Lerato Kganyago calls out Bolt

TV and Metro FM radio personality Lerato Kganyago is demanding accountability for Bolt. This comes after two women alleged, they were stabbed by one of their drivers in Cape Town.

Lerato Kganyago

The DJ and businesswoman Lerato Kganyago responded to two passengers who revealed they were injured by a Bolt driver. Read more

Back to top button