A day after Russia shocked the world with an impressive demonstration of military preparation for what it dubbed was a "massive nuclear attack", the country is celebrating its traditional May 9 national holiday which marks the Soviet victory over Nazis in World War II. Among the people watching the traditional and impressive military demonstration on Red Square was Russian president Vladimir Putin.
This is a full replay of what he saw.
“It’s a day when we all especially keenly feel what it means to be faithful to the motherland and how important it is to be able to defend its interests,” Putin said at the Moscow parade. “It’s a holiday when the all-triumphant power of patriotism celebrates victory.”
However it is not Putin's presence as the rally that was notably, but what he did after, when hours after the he watched the tanks rumble on Red Square Putin flew to Crimea for the first time since its annexation, to oversee Russia's newest territorial expansion. This happened even as both Ukraine, Germany and the head of NATO all voiced strong objections to such a visit by Putin which not only formalizes the expansion, but spits in the eye of Western attempts to contain the Ukraine conflict and/or de-escalate:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said three days ago a visit by Putin to Crimea would be regrettable.
“The situation there is so grave that a trip like this could provoke greater violence,” Tatyana Stanovaya, an analyst at the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies, said by phone May 7. “The visit would appeal to Russians at home who are happy to have Crimea back in the country’s fold.”
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said yesterday he’s concerned that Russia is “planning provocations” today.
Ukraine was even more despondent:
- UKRAINE FOREIGN MINISTRY PROTESTS PUTIN'S CRIMEA VISIT
- UKRAINE: PUTIN VISIT CONFIRMS RUSSIA WANTS TO ESCALATE TENSION
The tension started by a CIA-funded violent coup in Ukraine? Why yes. yes he does.
While we commiserate with the completely helpless and without leverage Ukraine government, as well as the reliant on Russian gas Germany, perhaps consider this a preview of what Putin will do next year when long after East Ukraine aka "Novorossiya" has seceded from the west, the Russian president will have a land route from the Kremlin all the way to Sevastopol. He may even ride a bear all the way from Point A to point B. Bare chested.