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.
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— 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.

James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

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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.

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