Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of the end of WW II in Europe in a subdued ceremony at the Kremlin amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“This day is our most important and most cherished holiday, which we celebrate solemnly across our nation, all together,” Putin said.
The Soviet Union suffered tens of millions of casualties during the war, most of the Allied forces, and the victory over Nazi Germany remains a substantial source of national pride in Russia.
Moscow had planned to hold a grand parade on Saturday, counting on attendance by several world leaders including France’s Emmanuel Macron and China’s Xi Jinping, but postponed indefinitely due to a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Russia has reported nearly 200,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, the world’s fifth-largest nationwide outbreak. However, senior officials expressed hope that lockdown quarantine measures imposed in most of the country would curb the rate of transmission.
Putin, however, vowed that Moscow would hold the military parade and the accompanying Immortal Regiment march, in which Russians of all walks of life display photos of members of their family who contributed to the war effort.
“We will have the main parade on Red Square and the people’s Immortal Regiment march to show our gratitude and the unbreakable and living bonds of kinship linking generations,” Putin said.