Parade of May 9: during the march of the “regiment of immortals”, Russians claim not to have “finished with fascism”


Military music and sepia photos by the thousands in the streets of Moscow, on the occasion of the commemoration ceremonies of May 9, 1945 in Russia. At the head of the procession, Vladimir Putin holds the portrait of his father in a sailor’s uniform. Arianna, a 17-year-old student, came for the first time with her photo. “He’s my great-grandfathershe explains, he was 17 when he went to war. He went almost as far as Berlin. He was wounded and made captain major.”

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The “Regiment of Immortals” is a relatively recent tradition, ten years at the most, but it has become an institution in its own right on this special day in Russia, Victory Day, and Nikolai, a forty-something , would not miss for anything in the world. “I have never found such energyhe rejoices. We expect this all year. For the Soviets, even the New Year was not as important as Victory Day. What is very serious is that we all have friends and family in Ukraine. My last name, Romanienko, is Ukrainian. It hurts to see how, in a few years, people have dismissed everything we had in common. Even this big win. It’s sad and incomprehensible.”

Muscovites parade with the photo of their ancestor who fought in the Second World War, May 9, 2022. (SYLVAIN TRONCHET / RADIO FRANCE)

In a speech to hail the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, the Russian president said his army was fighting in Ukraine to defend “the homeland” in front of the “unacceptable threat” represented by its Western-backed neighbour. In the procession, Nadiejda carries the portrait of her grandfather, wounded in the war. This retiree explains that she does not understand why the Nazis are returning to Ukraine today. “War is a great misfortune for all people and in today’s world we are not done with fascismshe regrets. They are back.”

“We liberated Romania, France, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. And it’s as if they forgot everything there. We haven’t forgotten.”

Nadiedja, Russian retiree

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Testimonies like that of Nadiejda, we have heard many today. Alexander, he is satisfied that the crowd is huge in the streets of Moscow. “There are even more people coming because it’s a cry from the heart and I hope that after today’s parade, we won’t hear the miserable cries of people who don’t support us, who say that we were forced to come herehe blurts out. It’s not true. If they want to live their life, let them live it away from us.”

A demonstrator wearing a patch representing Vladimir Putin, during the march of the "regiment of immortals", on May 9 in Moscow (Russia).  (SYLVAIN TRONCHET / RADIO FRANCE)

In the procession, we also notice men wearing a jacket marked with the Z. One of them explains to us that when the war is over, we French people will understand that their fight is just.

Parade of May 9: during the march of the “regiment of immortals” in Moscow – The report by Sylvain Tronchet

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