During remarks on the anniversary of World War II's end in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Nazi beliefs remain strong.
Vladimir Putin claims 'Nazi beliefs' persist
Putin condemned attempts to rewrite history, to defend traitors and terrorists, on whose hands rests the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, during the annual military parade at Moscow's Red Square. He claimed that Nazi ideologies are resurfacing, claiming that they were obsessed with the delusional theory.
According to The Associated Press, Putin said, "Unfortunately, many of the Nazi ideologies, especially those obsessed with the delusory theory of their exclusiveness, are attempting to be resurrected." However, he did not have any specifics.
According to the wire service, more than 190 military vehicles moved through the square, including a World War II-era T-34 tank and eight-axle Yars mobile ICBM launchers. The commemoration of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, named Victory Day in Russia, is the most important secular holiday. The war claimed the lives of nearly 27 million Soviet troops and civilians.
As the country commemorated the 76th anniversary of World War II victory, Putin pledged to protect Russia's national interests vehemently and condemned the resurgence of "Russophobia." Putin's address to tens of thousands of troops and veterans at Moscow's Red Square came amid renewed disputes with the West over the Ukraine crisis and a slew of European spy scandals.
"Slogans of ethnic and national domination, of anti-semitism and Russophobia grew even more pessimistic," the Russian leader said, referring to a creeping return of ideologies from the period, NZ Herald reported. Putin also cautioned that Nazism is still alive.
The parade on Sunday included over 12,000 military personnel, 190 pieces of military equipment, and 76 fighter jets and helicopters.
Victory Day parades, which only became an annual tradition after the Cold War ended in 1991 and have grown in significance in projecting Russia's reborn military strength during Putin's two decades in office, were held in dozens of cities around the country on Sunday.
Russia's annual victory day parade has been increasingly significant
Per Daily Mail, the public holiday has been increasingly crucial in projecting Russia's revived military strength during Putin's two decades in office. A huge firework show lit up Moscow's sky in reds, blues, and yellows on Sunday night.
According to a poll conducted this week by the state-run pollster VTsIOM, 69 percent of Russians consider it to be the most important holiday on the calendar. A third of those polled said they would attend the celebrations, while a fifth said they would watch them on tv.
The 76th anniversary of the 1945 victory comes when relations with the West have approached Cold War levels in recent weeks.
Russia's diplomats have been recalled from several European countries over spying cases. At the same time, the US and the EU impose fresh sanctions on Moscow in response to the treatment of imprisoned Kremlin activist Alexei Navalny and accusations of hacking and cyber-attacks. Moscow has increased its military presence overseas, interfering in Syria's civil war on behalf of Bashar al-Assad's regime. It's also commonly assumed that it backs pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine's east.
Russia amassed 100,000 soldiers along Ukraine's borders and in Crimea last month, the most significant increase since 2014. Though, in what many saw as a challenge for new US President Joe Biden, it soon declared a drawdown.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken flew to Kiev earlier this week to show solidarity for Ukraine in its fight against Russia and ahead of a planned summit between Putin and Biden next month. On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the pro-Russian breakaway eastern territory of Lugansk with European diplomats to commemorate the end of WWII.