Home Europe Russia scales back WWII Victory Day celebration in Moscow amid Covid-19

Russia scales back WWII Victory Day celebration in Moscow amid Covid-19

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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.

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.

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.

Aircraft overhead, war stories online

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.

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 mRead More – Source