I quite enjoyed today’s Vice News report from Moscow, from the correspondent Simon Ostrovsky, who has done great work in Ukraine in the last year. It’s a great 12 minutes, with a mix of great footage of the Russian military parade on May 9th and injections of humor from an Australian-accented Kim Jong Un.
Most of the world marked the 70th anniversary of Germany’s surrender in World War Two last week. Victory Day means a lot to the people of the former Soviet Union, the country that suffered the most in the war and fought most of the German army throughout the war, taking Berlin in April 1945. President Vladimir Putin invited most Western leaders to Moscow for the annual parade and celebration there, but they boycotted the parade by and large in protest over his actions in the Ukrainian crisis since 2014.
I’m glad our leaders boycotted the military parade, which is largely a celebration of the current Russian military. But I wish some of them had appeared in Moscow on May 9th to pay their respects to the Soviet war dead–over 8 million soldiers and nearly 20 million civilians killed during the war. The people of the USSR sacrificed enormously to defeat Nazism, something that Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, and others don’t forget, even if the West sometimes does. Appearing in Moscow to honor the dead while boycotting the military parade would have undermined the charges of Russophobia that the Kremlin and Russian media frequently level at the West, and still allowed political leaders to make a point to President Putin.
I don’t much feel like going further into the rabbit hole of discussing Russia and the world today, so I’ll leave this post short. I do expect to return to this subject much more frequently in the future, so look for more posts on Ukraine, Russia, and the like soon.