Moscow's Red Square empty due to coronavirus restrictions

Coronavirus forces Russia to hold minimalized Victory Day

With daily confirmed virus cases continuing to rise, the Russian Republic holds back celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, to the President Putin's shagrin

Reuters |
Published: 05.09.20 , 12:15
Russia marks 75 years since the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two on Saturday, but the coronavirus outbreak has forced it to scale back celebrations seen as boosting support for the Kremlin.
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  • With coronavirus infections rising, President Vladimir Putin last month postponed the highlight of Victory Day celebrations, a massive parade on Red Square that showcases Moscow’s most sophisticated military hardware, to an unspecified date.
    Moscow's Red Square empty due to coronavirus restrictions Moscow's Red Square empty due to coronavirus restrictions
    Moscow's Red Square empty due to coronavirus restrictions
    (Photo: Reuters)
    In previous years, Putin basked in national pride as he watched Russian tanks rumble across the square with world leaders by his side. But a recent poll gave him his lowest approval rating in more than two decades and the country’s economy is slipping into a deep downturn.
    2019 Victory Day Parade in Moscow 2019 Victory Day Parade in Moscow
    2019 Victory Day Parade in Moscow
    (Photo: Reuters )
    Putin has described Victory Day celebrations as sacred to Russians but said a big public event was too risky during the pandemic. As of Friday, Russia had reported 187,859 coronavirus cases and 1,723 deaths.
    In a slimmed-down celebration, Putin will lay flowers at the Eternal Flame war memorial outside the Kremlin walls and deliver a speech.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin
    Russian President Vladimir Putin
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Fireworks will be let off across Russia as much of the country remains in lockdown, the Defence Ministry has said.
    The Russian air force will carry out fly-pasts over more than 47 cities, as well as at its military base in Syria, with a full array of jets and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighters, the country’s most advanced warplanes.
    Tu-95MS strategic bombers fly in formation above the State Historical Museum during an air parade on Victory Day Tu-95MS strategic bombers fly in formation above the State Historical Museum during an air parade on Victory Day
    Tu-95MS strategic bombers fly in formation above the State Historical Museum during an air parade on Victory Day
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Public processions commemorating Soviet participants in the war that are normally held on May 9 have been moved online, with people uploading pictures of family members and telling their war stories.
    On the eve of the anniversary, Putin sent congratulatory letters to many former Soviet republics, as well as to the leaders of Britain, the United States and France.
    Putin has accused Russia’s detractors of diminishing the Soviet war effort, and on Friday he warned post-Soviet leaders against what he said were attempts to rewrite the history of World War Two.
    Russian aircraft perform during the Victory Day parade in Moscow Russian aircraft perform during the Victory Day parade in Moscow
    Russian aircraft perform during the Victory Day parade in Moscow
    (Photo: EPA)
    In his messages to foreign leaders, Putin said their countries should build on the cooperation between the Soviet Union and the Allies as Moscow’s relations with the West remain fraught.
    “This invaluable cooperation experience is highly needed even today,” Putin wrote to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Kremlin said.

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    Moscow's Red Square empty due to coronavirus restrictions
    Moscow's Red Square empty due to coronavirus restrictions
    Photo: Reuters