Russia celebrated Victory Day today with a show of military might not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The annual parade marks the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, and remembers almost 27 million Soviets who perished in World War II. Russia has not displayed heavy weaponry at the parade in Red Square since 1990.
Politicians and generals want to show the results of sharply increased military spending and they are telling the world that Russia is still a force to be reckoned with.
Russia now has a new president at its helm. Dmitry Medvedev has just been sworn in and the parliament has rubber stamped his choice of former president Vladimir Putin as prime minister.
Medvedev shook hands with war veterans when the parade started and said the Victory Day celebration was the most sacred in Russia.
It was Putin who, before stepping down as president, ordered generals to revive the Soviet-era tradition of driving tanks, howitzers and missile launchers through Red Square on May 9.
More than 100 pieces of military hardware were on show, including the Topol and the Iskander M, the country’s most modern missile launchers.