News / Europe

    Russia's Military Might for More Than Show

    Russian tanks move along Red Square during a Victory Day parade, Moscow, May 9, 2013.
    Russian tanks move along Red Square during a Victory Day parade, Moscow, May 9, 2013.
    James Brooke
    Russian soldiers, tanks and rockets paraded across the cobblestones of Red Square on Thursday in the Kremlin’s annual display of the nation’s military might.
     
    The parade was first held 68 years ago to celebrate the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. Today it is a carefully choreographed event to remind Russians -- and the world -- that the country remains a major military power.
     
    President Vladimir Putin reviewed the troops and addressed the nation, declaring: “We will do everything to strengthen security on the planet.”
     
    Russia’s economy may now rank 10th largest in the world, but it still aspires to be a military superpower.
     
    To showcase Russia’s military might, authorities spent millions of dollars to disperse rain clouds in the skies and repair asphalt ground up by tank treads on the ground. Lavish television coverage included placing TV cameras in the cockpit of a fighter jet, by the wheels of a battle tank, and atop the Kremlin’s 15th century clock tower.
     
    Missile sale
     
    Foreign military attaches watched from a VIP reviewing section as nuclear-capable rockets and S-300 mobile missile batteries rolled by.
     
    The anti-aircraft missiles were a reminder of news reports earlier Wednesday that Russia is preparing to sell S-300 missile batteries to Syria’s embattled government.
     
    This advanced system would limit the ability of the United States and other nations to operate over Syrian airspace or impose a no-fly zone. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left Moscow after winning President Putin’s support for a conference to mediate a political solution to Syria’s civil war.
     
    For four decades, Moscow has been an ally of and arms supplier to the Assad clan that has run Syria since 1971.
     
    On Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron is to meet President Putin for talks in Sochi, after which he is to fly to Washington for a Monday meeting with President Obama.
     
    Regional power
     
    On Red Square, the columns of tanks and rows of marching soldiers were a reminder of Russia’s determination to be a regional power.
     
    On Wednesday, President Putin met with Russia’s Security Council and instructed the military to draw up plans to defend Central Asia and southern Russia in the event of a collapse in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops next year.
     
    "We will bear it in mind that the Afghan army and law enforcement bodies are so far unable to guarantee security in Afghanistan,” Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev told reporters on Wednesday.
     
    It was a reminder that Russia’s massive military is maintained for greater goals than marching smartly in parades.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: motun
    June 03, 2013 8:03 PM
    Still aspires to be a military superpower? why dont you let them drop one of their several thousand nukes on you. if thats not superpower enough for you i dont know what is.

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    May 10, 2013 7:55 AM
    To: Igor from: Russia

    In vain you try to insult me as we, you and me, are from different RUSSIAs.

    1) I’m from the Russia of overwhelming majority people who for 13 years are held hostage by the FSB regime that indefinitely suspended all basic human rights, stole elections and billions $ of national wealth, that destroyed industrial and technological might of once great nation, that passively watches dying-out of Russian nation.

    2) You’re from the Russia of tiny minority of billionaires with unknown origin of their wealth, FSB functionaries and those who are serving them.

    You see, we are from alien and different social backgrounds and we’ll certainly meet each other through barrel sight of our guns by being on different sides of barricades in imminent civil war.

    You should be completely blind and not to know a thing about the Russia that stretches beyond Moscow’s Circle Road when you have started to defend the “parade” as a laughable show of “military might” and one more Potemkin’s village of the FSB design. The same as Skolkovo Silicon-Valley.
    In Response

    by: JohnSmith
    May 10, 2013 8:43 AM
    Get over your chronic winery already and get to work. Do not how to work - buy a book, ask you friend, do not have a friend - find one.

    You have been held hostage in your own mind. The person who has been holding you hostage is yourself. I'm fed up of seeing loosers like you.

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    May 09, 2013 9:32 PM
    I completely agree with the post of V. Z. 6 from: Russia. The “parade” is a laughable show of military might that doesn’t exist and is one more Potemkin’s village of the FSB design.
    For 13 years methodically the regime has been destroying military-industrial complex of former USSR.
    Just keep in mind that the regime for years is unable to liquidate the Islamist insurgency in the Northern Caucasus – right round the corner of absurd forthcoming winter Olympics Game in the subtropics’ zone!
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    May 10, 2013 1:42 AM
    Gennady, it is the Victory Day of our nation to commemorate those sacrified themselves to save our country and the world from the old western invader - the Nazi and to remind our enemies that Russia is strong enough to defeat any invader in the future. To blacken the parade you have offended your own grandparents and your own people. Are you a real russian, Gennady? Or you are only a betrayer?

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    May 09, 2013 8:49 PM
    The cold war is not over. The proxy war between the US and Russia in Syria is shaping up. The longer the wait for the show down in Syria, the greater will be the death and destruction.



    by: V. Z. 6 from: Russia
    May 09, 2013 3:25 PM
    this is such a farce... it masks corruptin and decay of unimaginable dimensions... i have been in the Russian Military or 16 years... believe me when i say it is rotten to the core. the truth is that Russia is terrified of Islamic insurrection within Russia. the truth is that Russia will not be able to suppress an Islamic revolt in Russia.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora