Preparations for Russia‘Victory Day’ parade has seen fighters form the infamous ‘Z’ symbol above Moscow.
The country’s most important holiday – traditionally marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 – is also set to see President Vladimir Putin show off his nuclear weapons tomorrow.
The capital’s Red Square will be the scene of an enormous parade of soldiers and military equipment – but there is unrest over what could happen next year, including fears of conscription, amid the war in Ukraine.
Rehearsals this weekend have seen several weapons, including the thermonuclear RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile, in what some consider another Kremlin cold threat.
The letter ‘Z’ has become a symbol of the conflict, decorating buildings, posters and billboards throughout Russia, and many forms of it use the black-orange St George’s ribbon associated with Victory Day.
Rally-supporting rallies have taken place in recent days at World War II commemorations, with participants singing war songs from the 1940s.
Video showed flyovers of several aircraft, some in Z formation.
One official has suggested that Victory Day marchers show photos of soldiers currently fighting in Ukraine.
Normally during the holidays, Russians wear portraits of their relatives who participated in World War II to honor those in the so-called Immortal Regiment from a conflict in which the Soviet Union lost a whopping 27 million people.
In some ways, the preparations for the celebration seem at first glance relatively similar to previous years.
Red Soviet flags and orange-and-black striped military ribbons can be seen in Russian cities and towns, with local concerts also performed.
Veterans lay flowers at World War II monuments, known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia.
But the mood is very different this year, with Russian troops dying in large numbers after Putin’s invasion of a neighboring country.
“I can not remember a time when the holiday of May 9 was expected with such fear,” wrote historian Ivan Kurilla.
Now in the 11thth week of the invasion, some Russians are afraid that Putin will use the event to declare that what the Kremlin previously called a “special military operation” in Ukraine will now be a full-scale war.
This could lead to a broad mobilization of troops to support Russia’s troops in Ukraine.
The head of Ukrainian intelligence Kyrylo Budanov said that Moscow was prepared to do this.
The British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace told LBC Radio that Mr Putin “laid the groundwork to say, ‘Look, this is a war against Nazis now, and what I need is more people’ ‘.
The Kremlin – which claimed that it was attempting to “denigrate” Ukraine – denied such plans, calling the reports “untrue” and “nonsense”.
Asked on Friday whether mobilization rumors could dampen the mood of Victory Day, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “nothing will cast a shadow” over “the holy day, the most important day” for Russians.
However, human rights groups reported a spike in conversations of people who asked about laws regarding mobilization and their rights in case of being ordered to join the military.
“Questions about who can be called up and how have started to flow en masse on our reporting point on the rights of conscripts and the military,” said Pavel Chikov, the founder of the Agora Legal Aid Group.
Popular support in Russia for the war in Ukraine is difficult to measure in a country that has seen a steady crackdown on journalists in recent years, with independent media excluded and state-controlled television delivering a pervasive influence.
A recent survey by the respected independent Levada center found that 82% of Russians remain concerned about the military campaign in Ukraine.
The vast majority of them – 47% – are concerned about the deaths of civilians and Russian soldiers in the war, along with the destruction and suffering.
Only 6% of those involved in the war said they were disturbed by the alleged presence of ‘Nazis’ and ‘fascists’ in Ukraine.
Political analyst Andrei Kolesnikov recently stated: “A significant part of the population is horrific, and even those who support the war are in a permanent psychological militant state of an eternal nightmare.”
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Russian fighter jets form 'Z' symbol amid fear of what Victory Day might bring
Source link Russian fighter jets form 'Z' symbol amid fear of what Victory Day might bring