Russia’s Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 is set to be considerably scaled back compared to last year, according to data from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Eight MiG-29 jets formed the Z, a symbol that is now synonymous with the war and which is expected to conclude the fly-past on May 9, marking the day the Nazis surrendered to the Soviets at the end of World War Two. But Russia didn’t parade T-14 Armata, Su-35 and Su-57 aircraft instead Russia paraded Su-30SM, MiG-31 and MiG-29 in rehearsal.
Victory Day, which is Russia’s annual commemoration of the end of World War II, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War, is typically marked by Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing crowds and a military parade at Moscow’s Red Square.
The Russian leader usually uses the day of national celebration to show off Russia’s military power.
But this year, amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, fewer people and less military equipment will be at the 2022 Victory Day parade, data published by the Defense Ministry on April 29 shows.
Moscow’s Annual Victory Parade
The ministry said 129 units of military equipment will cross Red Square on May 9, while last year, 191 military vehicles took part.
The ministry said approximately 10,000 civilians will walk through the square during the parade this year, including employees of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations—a Russian government agency overseeing civil emergency services. In comparison, 12,000 people participated in the parade in 2021.
Troop turnout is still expected to be considerable. Russian state-run outlet RIA Novosti cited the defense ministry as saying that more than 11,000 troops are set to take part in the day of national celebration. That’s compared to 12,000 who participated in the event last year.
The ministry also told the outlet that 77 aircraft and helicopters are currently involved in preparations for the parade.
Russian authorities have not specified why this year’s Victory Parade is being scaled down.
Rehearsals of the parade in the run-up to the celebration have involved a wide range of military equipment, including all-terrain vehicles, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, missile and artillery weapons systems, and missile defense systems, reported Russian state-run outlet RBC.
The final rehearsal of the Red Square parade will take place on the morning of May 7, and the square is currently closed to the public until Victory Day, according to Russian media.
The day will begin with a parade and display of military equipment at 10 a.m. local time, and a program for veterans, featuring an orchestra and. An opera will take place in the evening, among other musical performances. The event will end with festive fireworks at 10 p.m.
A procession called the “Immortal Regiment” will also take place as usual this year. It invites all those who lost relatives in the war to participate. An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens were killed during World War II.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on April 29 that this year foreign leaders—including Putin’s Belarusian ally, Alexander Lukashenko—have not been invited to celebrate Victory Day.
Putin’s war with Ukraine has reportedly taken a considerable toll on the country’s military resources, and has diminished Russian troop morale.
Western officials have speculated that Putin will use the event declare all-out war on Ukraine, as this would authorize the Kremlin under Russian law to draft conscripts and mobilize reserve forces.
The Kremlin has called such analysis “nonsense.”
“There is no chance of that. It’s nonsense,” said Peskov. “It is not true.”
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