Western nations will scan the 74th Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square – via TV screens – for evidence of the beefed-up missile program Russia threatened when Washington announced its intention to pull out of a landmark 1987 nuclear arms-control pact known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Prior to the Crimea crisis in 2014, troops and some Western leaders and troops participated in the parade. The Ukraine crisis ended the practice, and President Vladimir Putin now takes the salute without guests from the West.
Speaking in a state-of-the-nation speech in 2018, he said Russia has developed a new array of nuclear weapons that are invincible. The new weapons include a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and hypersonic missile. The New York Times notes that the threats evoke the bombast of the Cold War, but they are not based this time on greater numbers of bombs but increased capabilities, stealth and guile.
Victory Day marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Under Putin it has become the second most popular anniversary in Russia, only eclipsed by New Year’s Eve in the nation’s affections. The marches and military parades now take place across Russia.
Around 16,000 soldiers, 200 armored vehicles and 150 planes and helicopters took part in Moscow’s 70th anniversary military parade in 2015 – one of the most elaborate military rallies held at the Kremlin’s walls in modern times. The event has repeatedly given the world a first extended glimpse at newly produced Russian military vehicles such as the Armata tank in 2015. The 73rd parade showed off the Kinzhal missile, which reportedly can travel as fast as Mach 10 over a distance as great as 1,200 miles, all while maneuvering. Sputnik reported in April that military equipment including T-34-85 and ?-72 tanks, 9K720 Iskander and S-400 missile systems, BM-30 Smerch rocket launchers and much more have arrived in Moscow for the 74th parade. According to the Russian publication, over 20,000 personnel and almost 200 vehicles are rehearsing for the event.
The European Observer reported in Dec 2018 that Russia has tested a system named Avangard that travels at 20 times the speed of sound and has a range of 6,000 km.
Date written/update: 2019-04-23