This Monday, May 9, Russia celebrated its victory against Nazism and Germany in 1945. On this occasion, part of the world was waiting for Russia to show its omnipotence or to officially declare war on Ukraine, but nothing none of this happened. Vincent Hervouët returns to these commemoration ceremonies.
It’s an old playground prank that promises a cake and a surprise. And the surprise is that there is no cake. For May 9, we expected the surprise of Chief Putin: the surprise is that he did not order general mobilization, nor officially declare war on Ukraine, nor threaten more precise reprisals Europe which arms the enemy… Bernique! Obviously, the Russian president does not listen to Western media. If he listens to them, he does not allow his agenda to be dictated.
He made the expected victim speech: from Borodino to Donetsk via Stalingrad, he assumes everything and always. Russia was besieged. A fresco recited in the dreary tone that suits Red Square. He had no choice in Ukraine, given the shenanigans of the West and the fatherland is grateful to its sons who sacrifice themselves to defend it. It was boring like a parade in Soviet times. Putin disappointed the media. Europe is relieved.
A Vladimir Putin alone…
No one three meters around. Voluntarily alone, no foreign leader was invited to the podium. It’s a good way to avoid the disappointments of recent years. Wrapped up in his flak jacket and in his certainties, Vladimir Putin has not once mentioned the name of Ukraine. It is quite logical since he denies his sovereignty, that it no longer exists, that he applies to dismantle it.
The military parade had a third less equipment and soldiers. You can see the effect of the war that destroyed entire units. One can also wonder what the parade will be reduced to next year… And it will be a shame: the goose-stepping parade is what the Russian military does best, much better than war.
The navy remained in port, the air force grounded. The famous Illyushin 80 in which Vladimir Putin could command nuclear strikes was invisible in the blue sky. The General Staff claimed weather problems. Above all, he was ordered to avoid escalation. Brandishing the nuclear threat is always an admission of weakness.
Does this announce a turning point in the war?
If you listen to NATO, Vladimir Putin is dangerous when he threatens. And when he’s not threatening, he bites. Now is the time to be wary.
On the ground, Russia painfully scores points. Even if it has no resounding success to display, the army is advancing. She was able to organize a parade in Mariupol. Severodonesk is about to fall, with control of the entire Lugansk region. The battle for Kramatorsk is approaching.
On Monday, Vladimir Putin pleaded self-defense in the face of an unacceptable threat. He has sworn to do everything so that the horror of a world war does not happen again. It is the opposite of an overstatement. It is not yet the return to the negotiating table but its new tone and the military situation announce it.
A Parade with the Immortal Regiment
By wearing like millions of Russians the ribbon of Saint George and the black and white photo of his relative, in this case, his father mobilized in the navy and wounded during the great patriotic war. In the photo, the sailor has the bewildered look of those who were starving to death in Saint Petersburg. We look and we think of the last fighters of Azovstal who this morning have nothing left but water and bullets and who refuse to surrender. The Azov regiment which becomes immortal.