President Putin speaks on Russian spirit during Victory Day parade
Eleven thousand service members and cadets marched in the Victory Day parade, followed by tanks, howitzers and missile launchers, according to The Washington Post.
The Russian government spent $4 million on cloud seeding methods in order to prevent rain from falling on Victory Day, a celebration Nazi Germany's surrender to the Soviet Empire during World War II in 1945.
Last year, the parade was followed by demonstrators protesting Putin's presidency. The parade this year concluded with denial-of-service attacks on liberal media, including Ekho Moskvy radio and Novaya Gazeta newspaper. Pro-Putin vigilantes asserted responsibility for the attacks, The Washington Post reports.
As the clock in the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower struck 10 a.m., the parade began, accompanied by the World War II anthem, "The Sacred War." Approximately 26 million Soviets died in the war, more than eight million of them troops. Many of the veterans, today, come to the celebration with their grandchildren.
"Sixty-eight years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War, but the memory of the war does not fade," Putin said, according to The Washington Post. "It passes on from generation to generation, from parents to children, from heart to heart. The might behind this righteous unity is love for Russia, our home, our relatives and our family. These values bring us together today. Our entire nation fought valiantly to defend them."
After the parade, Putin congratulated a row of officers, including 90-year-old Alexander Fomenko, who wore medals on his chest.
"It was four long years," Fomenko said, The Washington Post reports. "I was always on the front. We were fighting, all of us, for the people."
Though Fomenko said the parade made him proud, he added that it didn't mean the long struggle for a good life was finished.
"Today we hope for better," he said, according to The Washington Post. "We still hope for better."
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