Remembering Victory Day, Our Way

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May 9th will mark the 70th anniversary of Victory Day in Russia. In addition to the solemn observances and huge military parade through Red Square that will mark the occasion, hundreds of thousands will take to the streets festooned with orange and black victory ribbons, wearing pilotkas (the ubiquitous Soviet army cap) and waving Russian and Soviet flags. Aging veterans are feted at smaller public gatherings, and the entire country enjoys a day of national bonding. It is Christmas in May, and, as Vladimir Putin has said, “Russia’s biggest holiday.”
Western leaders, much to Putin’s chagrin, won’t be attending the observance this year, and their places will instead be taken by such disreputable world heads of state as Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov, Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, and, in a rare trip abroad, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The official party line in Moscow is that it is American pressure that is keeping European…

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