Unrest Marks Victory Day Celebrations in Russia

Russia celebrated Victory Day in flamboyant style on Wednesday with a vibrant and striking military parade running across Red Square in Moscow. The day of festivities celebrated the anniversary of the World War II victory of Russia over Germany 67 years ago. The parade followed closely on the heels of the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin to his third term as Russia’s leader over the weekend.

Clouds hovered over hundreds of uniformed officers marching in precise formations. Tanks and guns were paraded throughout Red Square, where protests and unrest have been staged regularly over the last few months. Protesters against the gay propaganda ban and the destruction of the Khimki Forest have been two recent catalysts for protest, which heralded swift arrests of activists over the last few months.

The weekend of Putin’s inauguration brought about a number of demonstrations aimed at displaying unhappiness with Putin’s return to power. Sunday protesters gathered en masse to dispute Putin’s return to power with at least 70 injuries occurring in the violent clash that ensued between the demonstrators and the riot police. Monday heralded a small sit-in of just over 100 near the presidential administration offices, according to The Moscow Times.

Tuesday marked a day of flash protests and mass arrests as riot police chased protesters down streets and through alleys, detaining demonstrators in riot police vans. Many protesters were arrested repeatedly over the course of the early part of the week.

Arrests and discord continued to mark the mood on Red Square on Wednesday in response to Putin’s return to power over the weekend. According to The Moscow Times, at least 200 arrests were made overnight on Tuesday and into Wednesday as protests continued to plague the days following Putin’s inauguration. Opposition leaders Sergei Udaltsov and Alexei Navalny were numbered among the detainees during the festivities.

Udaltsov claims to have started a hunger strike in protest to his detention and treatment at the hands of the police. Opponents to Putin’s rule argue that he won his seat back through electoral fraud, according to the Tehran Times. Many reports claim that the protesters are responding to the riot police and detention with calm support for each other. According to The Moscow Times, during the early hours on Wednesday, 50 protesters were detained in a peaceful assembly as they were arrested and filed into the riot police vans.

Despite the somber mood cast by the dark clouds and the protests, Putin continued to display his patriotic pride for Russia during the Victory Day parade. He used the opportunity to call for national unity as he reflected on the sacrifices made by veterans during World War II. Putin also emphasized his opposition to United States insertion of missile defense programs on Russian soil, according to the National Post.

While the rather peaceful tactics used by the protesters has effectively kept the number of injuries to a minimum, Putin and his team seem to be ignoring the unrest, preferring to focus on notions of national unity and solidarity to move past the discord set about by his inauguration. Perhaps Putin and his supporters believe the protests, and the accompanying unhappiness with his re-election, will cease if they continue to be squashed by riot police.

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More Anti-Gay Laws, Arrests in Russia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A5 years ago

Funny how US and other Western leaders used to criticise the outrages in Russia a couple of decades ago. Now of course they don't because they are all the same - there to suck every drop of blood from their or other nations' resources.

What a poor show now they are all at it and look after one an others interests to stay in power as long as possible.Western leaders are bound by the constitutions but Putin makes his own rules and can do as he likes. Don't the others wish they could do the same?

Each one keeps scaremongering their populations to remain in power and deprive them of essentials and all the while building bigger and bigger arsenals, helping the corporates with the profits.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

Yeah! Hard to enjoy your Birthday party when all the presents have been "STOLEN"!

Phillip Anderton
Phillip A5 years ago

Corrupt, out of touch, and with no understanding of the meaning of democracy whatsoever. A real shame...

Sadie l.
Sadie L5 years ago

Sad day for the people of Russia - my condolences.....

Tim U.
Tim Upham5 years ago

The United States should very much pay attention to Russia's Victory Day celebrations. Because it is a way of remembering the 26.6 million civilians and 8.7 million military personnel, that died during World War II. The Soviet Union had the greatest loss of life, than any other country during World War II. This was recognized in 1972, when Richard Nixon was in the Soviet Union for negotiations with Leonid Brezhnev. Nixon was in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), and read on Soviet television, and except from Tanya's diary. Where she mentioned how everybody in her family died during the Siege of Leningrad. Then Nixon read out the haunting final sentence in her diary "But Tanya is still here." We must always remember the great loss of life that took place during that time span, for as Nixon stated, it transcends nationality and ideology.

Martin L.
Martin L5 years ago

No, Putin was not friends with Bush. Their ideologies are totally different. Blair however was. Bush and Blair shared the same misguided ideology to invade Iraq on the false premise that Iraq had "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that could be launched in under one hour.

Donna B.
Donna B5 years ago

Putin is corrupt and just couldn't wait to get back in power. I feel sorry for his people.

Chris Cole
Chris C5 years ago

Boy - there's nothing like going backward! I feel for these people!
Oh, weren't Putin and George Bush buddies? Figures!

eusebio vestias

O Rei Putin já esta na cadeira do Kremlin agora veremos as sua politicas internacionáis

Martin L.
Martin L5 years ago

Talk about "Calling the Kettle Black".

The United States, the so-called largest democracy in the world, has through its paramilitary thugs, brutally attacked and detained thousands of peaceful protestors.

It seems that once again the West uses the same old script of attacking Leaders of other countries who are strong and prepared to stand up to the ever growing threat of American world domination.