News / Europe

Russia Stages First Red Square May Day Parade Since Soviet Days

  • People in helmets dressed as Russian factory workers hold a man wearing a Barack Obama mask in chains as they take part in a Communists demonstration in downtown Moscow, May, 1, 2014.
  • Members of Russia's Communist party carry banners and flags during a May Day rally in Moscow, May 1, 2014.
  • Thousands of Communists march along Kremlin Towers during May Day demonstration in downtown Moscow, May, 1, 2014.
  • Thousands of Communists march during a May Day demonstration in Red Square in downtown Moscow, May 1, 2014.
  • People walk with flags and banners near Red Square during a rally in Moscow, May 1, 2014.

May Day in Moscow's Red Square

Reuters
Russia staged a huge May Day parade on Moscow's Red Square for the first time since the Soviet era on Thursday, with workers holding banners proclaiming support for President Vladimir Putin after the seizure of territory from neighboring Ukraine.
 
Thousands of trade unionists marched with Russian flags and flags of Putin's ruling United Russia party onto the giant square beneath the Kremlin walls, past the red granite mausoleum of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin.
 
Many banners displayed traditional slogans for the annual workers' holiday, like: “Peace, Labor, May”. But others were more directly political, alluding to the crisis in neighboring former Soviet republic Ukraine, where Russian troops seized and annexed the Crimea peninsula in March, precipitating the biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War.
 
“I am proud of my country,” read one. “Putin is right,” said another.
 
Unlike Kremlin leaders in Soviet times, Putin did not personally preside at the parade from atop the mausoleum. But he carried out another Soviet-era tradition by awarding “Hero of Labor” medals to five workers at a ceremony in the Kremlin. He revived the Stalin-era award a year ago.
 
Putin has described the breakup of the Soviet Union as a tragedy and overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy in March by declaring Russia's right to intervene in former Soviet countries to protect Russian speakers.
 
Laws have been changed to make it easier for Russia to annex territory from other former Soviet states and for inhabitants of other parts of the old Soviet Union to get Russian citizenship.
 
Since the annexation of Crimea, pro-Moscow gunmen have seized territory in eastern Ukraine and Putin has massed tens of thousands of troops on the frontier. He denies he is planning an invasion but proclaims the right to launch one if necessary to defend Russian speakers.
 
May Day, always an important date in the Soviet calendar and still a major holiday for Russians, has been marked by rallies in other parts of Moscow since the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991, but until now parades were kept off Red Square.

Patriotic uplift
 
Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin told Rossiya 24 TV from Red Square that more than 100,000 people had marched through it.
 
“This is not by chance, because there is a patriotic uplift and a good mood in the country,” he said.
 
Russian television also showed footage of a May Day parade in Crimea's capital Simferopol, with Russian flags and banners reading “Crimea is Russia. Welcome home.”
 
“We are sure that the current patriotic uplift in Crimea will spill over into the whole Russian Federation,” Interfax news agency quoted Crimea's pro-Moscow leader Sergei Aksyonov as telling journalists.
 
Russia seized the peninsula last month after a pro-Russian Ukrainian president was toppled in February. The United States and European Union accuse Moscow of directing the uprising in south-eastern parts of Ukraine and have imposed sanctions on Russian individuals and companies.
 
The sanctions, while not hitting Russia's industry directly, have hurt the economy by scaring investors into pulling out capital. The International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for Russian 2014 economic growth this to just 0.2 percent on Wednesday and said Russia was already “experiencing recession”.
 
But at home, the intervention in Ukraine has been enormously popular. One opinion poll on Wednesday showed 82 percent support for Putin, his highest rating since 2010.
 
“Western sanctions won't affect us. Crimea was historically part of Russia, and it's only right that we've become whole again,” said Tatyana Ivanova, a worker at Moscow Housebuilding Factory No. 1 celebrating May Day with four colleagues.
 
But not all Muscovites were impressed.
 
“Today isn't a particularly special holiday, it's just a nice spring day, and people are happy to have an opportunity to celebrate,” said historian Kirill Strakhov, 31, speaking on another square near Moscow's Bolshoi Theater.
 
“The authorities are trying to drum up support by encouraging patriotic feelings. They ignore the fact that there are many difficult economic and geopolitical problems associated with the unification of Crimea.”
 
Putin has also revived the Soviet-era practice of staging massive displays of military firepower on Red Square to mark May 9, the allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, one of the most important days in the Soviet and Russian calendars.
 
Central Moscow streets have been partially closed in recent days as tanks and mobile rocket launchers rehearse for that parade next week.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Conrad from: USA
May 03, 2014 1:46 PM
I find it hard to believe that any Russians would use Communist symbols now days, Especially after what they have been through under that evil system.


by: sakara from: pa usa
May 02, 2014 5:46 PM
typical for a kgb agent---with hitler, before ww2, not even as anti-usa as putin is now.

In Response

by: Peacekeeper from: Canada
May 04, 2014 1:48 AM
What do you know about Second World War? I'm just curious.
Do you know even when it was started and ends?

In Response

by: Peacekeeper from: Canada
May 04, 2014 1:38 AM
You can't believe because you have never lived there. Your judgement based on the one side information provided by your American media . As most American who can't speak any languages but English you do not have access to any alternative sources and read only what is allowed for you to read. Sorry man but it's true.


by: Louis from: PA
May 02, 2014 11:51 AM
dumb americans will believe this tripe: "seizure of territory from neighboring Ukraine" and "Russian troops seized and annexed the Crimea" - oh, forgot to mention the democratic vote that occurred...
also, dumb americans should be aware that Voice of America is a US government agency !


by: Vlad from: San Francisco
May 02, 2014 9:53 AM
Just like North Korea - parade military in front of dictator
Putin's idol is Stalin - and wants to be just like him.
Brainwashed Russians - USSR here we go again...
#russiasucks #putinsucks

In Response

by: Peacekeeper from: Canada
May 04, 2014 1:55 AM
Not you, not me,not anemone in the world knows who putin's idol, if any. Did you ask yourself - who is your idle? May be Josef Kobson?


by: Adam from: Chicago
May 02, 2014 6:09 AM
'“Western sanctions won't affect us. Crimea was historically part of Russia, and it's only right that we've become whole again,” said Tatyana Ivanova, a worker at Moscow Housebuilding Factory No. 1 celebrating May Day with four colleagues.'

In that case, since East Prussia was historically part of Germany, then it's only right that they should become whole again. I know Russians aren't the brightest bulbs in the European chandelier, but their hypocrisy is astounding.

In Response

by: Adam from: Chicago
May 06, 2014 8:01 AM
Let's see if I've got this right: because the Soviets lost 27 million lives, that gives them a free pass to commit MORE carnage and atrocities, and ethnically cleanse innocent German civilians from land they've inhabited for centuries? You have a real warped sense of morality. Two wrongs don't make a right.

And as far as "saving the world" goes, the Russians were simply saving their own necks. Stalin was just as brutal of a dictator as Hitler, and far more people were murdered by the Bolsheviks than the Nazis, so to make the Soviets out to be any kind of heroes is despicable. But coming from a Canuck, I'm not the least bit surprised; you love swilling on your red Kool-Aid up there.

In Response

by: Peacekeeper from: Canada
May 04, 2014 1:31 AM
Well,well mister Yankee. You forgot who won the Second World War. Before your fellows country men were sitting behind the bush till 1944 Soviets were fighting alone against nazi. they lost 27 million lives against 350 thousand Americans. Prussia is a little compensation for saving the world. Cremona is a bit different story. Of course Putin took advantage of the Ukranian situation although as you know it was belong to Russia. Putin needs to protect his military bases. To protect Russians there is just a pretext. But tell me what America is doing there? In Black Sea? Your president Kennedy was so-o-o in alert when Soviets were in Caribbean


by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 01, 2014 2:09 PM
we chinese also celebrate the May day with our Russian bros!

In Response

by: Peacekeeper from: Canada
May 04, 2014 1:46 AM
Good staff Jonathan!
America has a Labor Day instead hardly try to book any campsite
To drink beer and eat burgers. Go to hell any parades!

In Response

by: Adam from: Chicago
May 02, 2014 5:44 AM
...says the Yellow Peril living in Canada.


by: Mitchel w eisenstein from: Manhattan
May 01, 2014 11:20 AM
Russia must be punished for its expansionist behavior. Putin is a murderer with blood on his hands and evil in his soul. He is a remorseless sociopath capable of atrocity

In Response

by: Mitch Eisenstein from: Stony Brook, NY
May 05, 2014 11:03 AM
Putin makes no excuses for assassinating adversaries abroad. The ring on the Olympic flag which did not open, but was opened with stock footage in Russia, shows the extent to which media manipulation and propaganda have returned, or perhaps never left this dictatorial state. The unopening of the ring represented ho there is still no complete transparency and openness within that country. But the image of openness is what is important.

The blemishes and flaws of democracies are laid out for all to see. but in Russia they are shoved under the rug. Fortunately, the big lump in the rug sticks out like a sore thumb, for everyone to see. The rebalkanization of eastern Europe is Putins goal. But it will not happen. The cancer will be contained. Putin will be punished financially, and the west can withstand much better than Europe, Russia's threats of retaliation. The free market society is stronger than a society manipulated and strangled by menacing. Even china, with its marriage of capitalism and communism, is poised to cave in on itself

In Response

by: Peacekeeper from: Canada
May 04, 2014 1:41 AM
Then your Israel fellows must be punished for Palestine expansion

In Response

by: Adam from: Chicago
May 02, 2014 5:55 AM
Funny that Olga should mention Afghan blood, considering Russians have far more of it on their hands from their 1979-89 invasion than Americans ever will.

And if she's going to include Japanese civilians, then it's only fair to point out all the blood of German, Latvian, and Estonian civilians on Russian hands.

In Response

by: olga from: moscow
May 02, 2014 4:20 AM
This is a very accurate profile of American presidents with the blood of thousands Iraqis, Afganis, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc. civillians on their hands.


by: Maxcraft
May 01, 2014 10:29 AM
Russia has had a May Day parade every year since the end of the Soviet Union; this article is simply inaccurate sensationalism.

Very disappointing Voice of America.

In Response

by: Peacekeeper from: Canada
May 04, 2014 1:56 AM
Agreed

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid