Soviet nostalgia becomes display of Russian military might

Russia presented a heady show that it could defend itself in a full-blown military parade Friday that drew smiles from WWII veterans, cheers from the public and foul language from a few irate drivers in the capital.
Tanks, ballistic missiles and heavy artillery rolled through Red Square for the first time in 18 years reviving one of the country's most-loved holidays.
Victory Day, celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany, is also a reminder of the near 14 million Soviet troops who died, a sacrifice Russians oft feel forgotten in Western history.
"We fought and won to bring peace to the world today. You see only weapons, but without them, today wouldn't be anything. The USSR, err, Russia wants to show how it can defend peace in the world," one WWII veteran Alexander, 86, said mixing past and present names.
Vladimir Putin personally ordered the parade, which was held a day after he stepped down as president, in the culmination of his eight- year drive to reassert Russia's place in the world.
The popular leader is credited with having done just that for what is now Russia's 1.3 trillion dollar economy and the display Friday was a deliberate move to wipe out the humiliating memory of the country's first struggles after the Soviet collapse.
Even if this means a paradoxical glorification of power, inextricable from the siege mentality that if not for Russia's arms, the West would have eagerly raped it of everything.
The monumental parade also smoothes Putin's recent transition of power to Dmitry Medvedev, who stood beside his mentor to view the show Friday.
Some 8,000 soldiers' holding the hammer-and-sickle standards of the former USSR, rumbled salutes to Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov as he rode past their ranks standing in a cadillac-inspired Soviet Zil limousine.
The crowd of WWII veterans, their lapels sagging with metals, then moved their lips to other lyrics as the troops in-toned the new verses of Russia's national anthem, restored by Putin to the old- Soviet melody.
But the brass music was swiftly drowned out by rows of tanks grinding over the cobblestones and spitting exhausts.
The military pomp raised eyebrows in the West at a time when Russia is courting open conflict with its post-Soviet neighbour Georgia, which the US backs in its bid to join NATO.
Earlier Putin said the celebration was not "sabre-rattling," but a "demonstration of our growing defence capability.
"We are able to protect our people, our citizens, our state, our wealth - which is not inconsiderable," Putin said, supported by his successor Medvedev who warned against irresponsible ambitions" adding Russia should do everything to see the tragedies of WWII were not repeated.
But veterans and spectators seemed to view the proceedings as a national holiday, shrugging off foreign concerns.
Asked whether there was sense that others felt threatened by Friday's display, Alexander said curtly, "No, it's their problem." His neighbour Victor Tarasov, 85, added, "No, it's their stupidity."
They and other veterans said simply that the parade brought them pride and hope, and saw it as emblematic of domestic changes that have been trumpeted during Medvedev's campaign.
Medvedev's first decree as president was to order state housing for all WWII veterans.
"We, soldiers were badly cared for, forgotten ... now things are getting better. Medvedev is young. He has hope and patriotism that is our hope for the future," said Alexander, 83, who fought three years in WWII.
The next generation of cadets shivered as they looked skywards at three helicopters dangling a weighted Russian tri-colour that cut through the morning air.
Watching the dizzying aerial display of over 30 war planes, the cadets of Moscow's Suvorovsky Military Institute beamed with confidence and without fear of threat.
"It's important the military shows that it has retained its strength ... We could be threatened, but now I don't think there is anything," 15-year-old Alexei said shoulders up around his ears.
Nevertheless, Alexei said he hoped to join the four-month training for the parade next year. He and his classmates were distracted as the stars of the show arrived: Topol-M ballistic missiles that looked as if they could level a city.
But military analysts were not as easily impressed, pointing out that the parade featured only the empty casing as their 45-ton weight of the missile could hardly be driven through Moscow's inner streets.
Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based military analyst, called the show of force "immaterial," saying most of the equipment was outdated or in poor condition despite the recent generous cash flowing to the armed forces.
The costs of the parade Friday were said to be enormous, with special planes dispatched to seed clouds against rain, and Moscow city authorities anticipated to be 60 million dollars in street repairs alone.
Over 70 per cent of Russians polled by the independent Levada Centre, however, were enthusiastic over the revamping of the parade. They could watch clips of the goose-stepping soldiers on state television all-day Friday in-between re-runs of Soviet WWII films, dpa reported.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Saudi foreign ministry says discussed Iran nuclear program with U.S. Blinken
Saudi foreign ministry says discussed Iran nuclear program with U.S. Blinken
US ready for Vienna talks on nuclear deal, but time is limited — White House
US ready for Vienna talks on nuclear deal, but time is limited — White House
Iran to resume Vienna negotiations on JCPOA soon - MFA
Iran to resume Vienna negotiations on JCPOA soon - MFA
Loading Bars
Latest
Israel says Abu Dhabi crown prince invites Israeli PM for 1st official visit
Volkswagen executive sees global chip shortage running well into 2022
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry makes Twitter post in connection with anniversary of liberation from occupation of Zangilan (PHOTO)
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation due to liberation of Zangilan on October 20, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 20, 2020
U.S. workers face layoffs as U.S COVID-19 vaccine mandates kick in
21 passengers escape plane safely after crash in Texas, officials say
Facebook to pay up to $14.25 mln to settle U.S. employment discrimination claims
Azerbaijan discloses names of returned Armenian servicemen
Uzbekistan exports $625 million worth of fruits and vegetables in 9 months
UK records highest daily COVID death toll since early March
Ukrainian Bees Airline plans to launch Odessa-Tbilisi-Odessa flights starting October 22
Iranian official dismisses 'tensions' at Astara customs, says activity with Azerbaijan soars
Turkmenistan starts rice harvest in Dashoguz region
Azerbaijan supports all int’l efforts to ensure transparency in extractive industries – minister
Refining activity of Iran's Fajr Jam Gas Refining Company soars
Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Corporation sets new record
Azerbaijan's defense minister visits newly established commando military unit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran’s PMO declares data on load/unload operations in Jask Port
Iran intends to increase exports through Astara
Turkey reveals cargo traffic via its ports from Portugal for 8M2021
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
President Ilham Aliyev receives Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (VIDEO)
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 20
President Ilham Aliyev expresses condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Azerbaijan transfers captured Armenian servicemen back to Armenia
Uzbekistan plans to exempt import and sale of meat products from VAT
Turkey shares data on maritime cargo shipment with Russia for 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on oil transported via BTC pipeline in 9M2021
USAID to provide additional funds for Kazakhstan to fight COVID-19
Turkey announces data on cargo traffic with Italy for 8M2021
Kazakhstan imposes export restrictions for some timber types
Azerbaijan names locations of future national parks in liberated territories
Azerbaijan demands certain steps from Armenia at UN International Court of Justice
Iran’s 9M2021 Turkish cement imports up
Iran to host meeting on economic co-op with Turkmenistan
Georgian foreign trade turnover increases
Iran increases petrochemicals production
Kazakhstan sees increase in number of open trading accounts
​Iran allocates more funds for oil and gas projects in Ilam Province
Turkey unveils data on cargo traffic via its ports from Spain
Georgia's domestic export up in 9M2021
Value of Turkish cement exports to Georgia for 8M2021 down
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Greece for 8M2021
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Egypt in 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,102 more COVID-19 cases, 863 recoveries
Cargo traffic on Azerbaijan's section of TRACECA for 8M2021 revealed
IMF lowers breakeven oil price level for Azerbaijan
Saudi index hits 15-year peak as most Gulf bourses gain
Israel's Bank Mizrahi Tefahot to issue $1.1 bln of CPI-linked bonds
Iran seeks to complete semi-finished project related to Lake Urmia's revitalization
Iran imports trucks to renovate transportation fleet
IMF revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s non-oil GDP growth
Iran`s domestic appliances production increases
IMF reveals forecast for Azerbaijan’s annual inflation
Iran's imports from neighboring countries up
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipment via its ports from Singapore for 8M2021
Hungarian companies to attend Rebuild Karabakh EXPO
Azerbaijan raises gas exports via BTE pipeline
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's GDP
Azerbaijani ministry denies rumors about full transition of schools to online lessons
Slovakia interested in deepening relations with Azerbaijan - FM
Turkey reveals cargo traffic with Morocco for 8M2021
Data on cargo shipping between Turkey and Algeria for 8M2021 revealed
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Israel for 8M2021
TAP partially stems increase in gas prices – managing director
Iran to sell oil through private sector
Iran started exploration of mining sites in South Khorasan Province
Minister talks preferential loans issued in Azerbaijan since early 2021
Bakcell will be ready to implement eSIM project in Azerbaijan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 19
Iran's steel production increases
Iran eyes to boost domestic production in mining, industrial and commercial sectors
AccessBank eyes increasing loan portfolio mainly in segment of micro, agricultural entrepreneurs - Acting Chairman of Board (Interview)
National bank of Georgia shares data on payment cards issuance
Average mobile internet download speed continues to grow in Azerbaijan - Ookla
Galt & Taggart publishes overview of Georgia's economic growth
USAID selecting Turkmen business projects for co-financing
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for supply of wellhead equipment
Azerbaijan exported most of its oil to Italy in 9M2021 - State Customs Committee
Iran ready to attract investment in renewable energy sector - minister
Azerbaijan - supporter of normalization of relations with Armenia, says FM
Azerbaijan, Slovakia eye signing agreement on economic co-op
Slovakia to supply Azerbaijan with de-mining machines in near future
Azerbaijan denies rumors about impeding exports from Iran to Russia
Iran Standards and Quality Inspection Agency releases car quality report
Iran to complete railway transit corridors - RAI
Baku Expo Center to soon open 'Rebuild Karabakh' exhibition
Joint press conference of Azerbaijani and Slovak FMs held in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
VTB Bank in Georgia to back up creation of Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Center
Uzbekistan to produce its first electric cars
Turkey's steel export to Uzbekistan surges in value for 9M2021
Turkey shares data for cargo traffic via domestic ports from Ukraine in 8M2021
Azerbaijani, Slovak FMs holding expanded meeting (PHOTO)
Turkmen state concern to buy chemical products via tender
Azerbaijan’s 'Kalbajar' tanker leaves for first voyage
Renewables’ share in global energy supply to increase to over 25%
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 19
All news