The date of 9 May has always been popular in Russia. Since Putin came to power he has emphasised the historical memory of the "great victory" of the USSR, which he believes unite Russians. Russian propaganda has further promoted the date, calling for the "feat of the grandfathers", the "victory over Nazism" and the "guilt of the collective West over Russia". Over time this has been perceived by ordinary Russians as analogous to a Nazi Germany that wants to enslave and destroy Russia. Putin deliberately emphasises propaganda narratives, preparing Russian society for an inevitable war of conquest with neighbouring countries, as evidenced by the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Armed Forces. When he invaded Ukraine, Putin committed a criminal geopolitical adventure that desecrates the memory of those who fought against Nazism during World War II.
For the first time since 1995, Victory Day parades have been cancelled in many Russian cities. The reason for this decision is said to be a shortage of military equipment to be deployed at the events. Russia has suffered extremely heavy losses in Ukraine and has gained international pariah status - Putin has become the embodiment of 21st century Hitler, bent on seizing the territories of sovereign states and destroying their populations along national lines.
Putin presented the invasion of Ukraine as an "easy ride", the outcome of which would be a rapid occupation of the territories of an independent country and its return to Kremlin control. In the months that followed, Russia suffered unprecedented military casualties in manpower and equipment, with a flood of zinc coffins and a string of crippled men, once young and healthy, who had lost their capacity at Putin's whim, returning to Russian cities. Unsurprisingly, the attention to the May 9 date in 2023 is modest, and the "Immortal Regiment" procession, in which Putin personally participated last year, has also been cancelled. The Russian authorities cannot explain to their own people the purpose of the so-called USO, nor the date of its end, and are afraid of possible protests while honouring the memory of the tens of thousands of young Russians killed in Putin's war.
In this context, the promotion of 9 May in Europe by Russian diplomacy and propaganda looks like an absurdity and at the same time a kind of information terror aimed at Europeans. A state that has aggressively invaded its neighbour and launched genocide against an entire nation based on its nationality cannot claim the laurels of victory over Nazism. Putin has created a misanthropic ideology in Russia, which has become a common threat to the entire civilised world. It must be neutralised in Ukraine.
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