On the morning of Thursday, May 9, Russia's President Vladimir Putin oversaw a military parade of the "Soviet Union" — or so it seemed. Moscow’s Red Square was plastered in communist red stars and hammers and sickles, in commemoration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the "Great Patriotic War" (World War II) 68 years ago.
Anyone observing the many symbols of communism and communist dictators on display could be forgiven for questioning if Russia had actually moved away from communism. After all, one would not expect (say) Germany to commemorate its history by proudly displaying the Nazi swastika. Why should the hammer and sickle, a symbol for another totalitarian regime responsible for the murder of millions of innocents, be viewed any differently?
Under the symbols of Soviet communism, ten thousand Russian soldiers, marines, sailors, and air force personnel marched in unison, followed by 100 armed vehicles and tanks, concluding with a flyover of 60 military aircraft.
Among the military hardware showcased at the parade were Tigers (a Russian equivalent of a Humvee), armored personal carriers, T-80 tanks, self-propelled howitzers, the C-400 Air Defense Complex, Panzer-S trucks, Ilyushin Il-76 cargo planes, refueling craft, MiG fighter jets, helicopters, and short-range bombers.
Also displayed were a fleet of mobile Topel-M (SS-25) intercontinental ballistic missiles and Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers, both of which are more than capable of delivering nuclear payloads on the mainland United States.
The parade commenced with the ceremonial march of eight soldiers in dress uniform, to the tune of “The Sacred War,” composed by Alexander V. Alexandrov on the same day as the German Army invaded the Soviet Union: June 22, 1941.
In accordance with tradition, the ceremony was headed by the minister of defense — this year Sergey Shoygu, after Putin fired his predecessor Anatoliy Serdyukov on November 6, 2012.
Surrounded by top military brass, President Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev oversaw the parade. Putin delivered a short patriotic speech, crediting the Soviet Union with defeating Nazism, fighting for “freedom,” and for “liberating Europe.”
The tradition of holding a military parade to commemorate the USSR’s victory in World War II was started under Soviet Primer Nikita Khrushchev and continued until the purported "fall of communism." But the abandonment of this tradition ended up being relatively short-lived. In 1995, under Russian President Boris Yeltsin the annual parade was reinstated with full Soviet honors, including communist hammer-and-sickle flags, and banners of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.
With the administration of Vladimir Putin, Russia has begun reinvesting in its military infrastructure. Much like the old Soviet-era parades on Moscow’s Red Square, this one was no different in its showcasing to the world of the latest Russian military hardware, much of which it sells to its socialist client states abroad, such as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Syria.
The parade was broadcast in the United States by RT (Russia Today), the pro-Putin Kremlinist propaganda channel on U.S. cable television. RT is known for its anti-American stances and opposition to the U.S. military, and it is a frequent broadcaster of news segments favorable to Marxist groups and communism in America, while at the same time glorifying the Russian military and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During RT’s coverage of the Victory Day parade, one commentator referred to Russia as a “peaceful country,” despite its recent military posturing overseas of flying nuclear bombers over Swedish airspace and troop deployments along its border with Georgia.
The glorification of the Soviet Union and Russian military prowess further reveals Russia's true colors to the world stage, while the West remains silent or simply ignorant on the matter. Soviet-style military communism is dead in the textbooks of the West, but alive and marching on the streets of Moscow's Red Square.
Photo at top: AP Images