Officials in the United States and other Western countries believe Russian President Vladimir Putin can officially declare war on Ukraine on May 9. The date has great symbolism for the country: it is Victory Day in Russia, which marks the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in 1945.
Every year Russia celebrates the date with large military parades in major cities, in a patriotic movement dedicated to the nearly 20 million Soviets killed during the conflict. This year, the party takes on particular symbolism and fewer tanks and military equipment should participate in the event.
Putin promised more than 10,000 troops, 62 fighter planes and 15 war helicopters. During the ceremony, eight Mig-29 fighter planes must write the letter Z in the sky, a symbol adopted by supporters of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Several analysts say that the president should also take the opportunity to reinforce his narrative of a leader who was forced to engage in a war to protect the interests of the Russian-speaking population.
Using that date to advertise a military conquest in Ukraine would not be an unexpected move by the Putin government, although Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry peskovdenied on Wednesday (4) that Russia will declare war on the 9th.
So far, Putin has characterized the invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation”, an alleged “denazification” campaign in Ukraine, not a war.
This speech is based precisely on his policy of glorifying the Soviet past and encouraging the mythical image of a Russian power that would continue in its fatal battle against Nazism.
For Western officials, Russia’s strategy of declaring war on the 9th would allow for the full deployment of reserve forces at a time when efforts to control Ukrainian regions continue to fail.
“I think he’s going to try to get out of his ‘special operation’. He’s rolling the field, laying the groundwork to be able to say ‘look, now it’s a war against the Nazis, and what I need is more people,'” he said. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on the radio LBC last week.
Victory Day is remembered differently in Europe.
The “ceasefire” of the allied troops, which marked the downfall of the Nazi, it was scheduled for the night of May 8, 1945, after the signing of a crucial document for the end of the war on the western front: the capitulation of Germany in the custody of US General Walter Bell-Smith.
That was the end of World War II in Europe, five and a half years after it began.
But the conflicts continued happening in the East, against the Japanese Empire, led by the monarch Hiroito and member of the “Powers of the Axis”, together with Germany and Italy. The country only surrendered in September of that year.
The Allies had agreed that 9 May would be a day of commemoration, but Western journalists broke the news of the German surrender earlier than expected. The Soviet Union kept the agreed date to mark the end of the Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Russia, and other regions of the former USSR.
The conflict devastated several regions of the Soviet Union, caused great suffering and left a deep scar on the national psyche.
According to the research institute vtsiomthis is the main national holiday for 69% of russians.
Putin has always put the holiday at the center of his politics, extolling the sacrifice of the Soviets and regularly accusing his Western opponents of historic “revisionism”. anti-russian, for trying to minimize the role of the Soviet Union in the Nazi defeat.
The celebration has been used by politicians and the Kremlin to encourage patriotic pride and underline Russia’s role as a global power.
In previous years, Putin used the date to incite the West and show the power of fire from Russian troops.
In his 2014 speech, he said, “The iron will of the Soviet people, their courage and stoicism saved Europe from slavery.”
“We know and we firmly have the faith that we are invincible when we are united”, he reinforced in 2020. (With international agencies)