Russia has been commemorating its victory over the Nazis in a massive military parade at Red Square in Moscow.
President Vladimir Putin presided over the ceremony. The defeat of fascism, he said, should serve as a lesson. “Those who attempt to raise the downtrodden Nazi banners, those who incite racial hatred, extremism and xenophobia, lead the world into a deadlock of senseless bloodshed and violence,” he said. The Russian leader added that “the solidarity of the peoples of the world facing today’s threats” remains “decisive” and “invaluable.” The message has particular resonance in Russia where racist killings are “out of control” according to the international human rights watchdog Amnesty International. Unlike last year’s 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, the president was not hosting dozens of foreign leaders. But the traditional remembrance rally remained a breathtaking spectacle. With an estimated 27 million dead in the conflict, Russia celebrates victory a day later than its allies because it was early on May 9 when the Soviet government officially announced the capitulation of Nazi Germany. Elsewhere in the capital, Communists held their own march on the public holiday known as Victory Day. Party leader Gennadiy Zyuganov joined left-wing war veterans – many of whom accuse the current administration of betraying the country’s past.