Vladimir Putin accused of power grab as Moscow hosts massive Victory Day parade

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Vladimir Putin accused of power grab as Moscow hosts massive Victory Day parade

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Russia has seen a terrible toll from the virus, seeing the third highest cases worldwide. In total, Russia has seen 606,043 cases and 8,503 reported deaths according to John Hopkins University.

Wednesday saw veterans up to 90 years old join the Russian president for a 75th anniversary Victory Day parade.

It comes as the Russian government has declared COVID-19 “in retreat” in the country.

Some are afraid that it’s too soon to tell after Russia has seen the third highest cases worldwide.

Concerns have rose over Putin’s motivations for the parade and the declaration on coronavirus.

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Originally scheduled for May 9, the Victory Day celebrations had been rescheduled over the initial wave of coronavirus affecting Russia.

Russia political analyst Anton Barbashin told CNBC why the Victory Day parade matters so much to the Kremlin: “Victory over the Nazi Germany is by far the biggest and the most significant historical event for contemporary Russia.

“For the Kremlin it is the most effective way to unite diverse peoples of Russia, it is used to legitimise Kremlin’s foreign policy aspirations and generally (the) Russian attitude towards great power status.

“In the past decade, it’s importance only increased as the Kremlin has been increasingly monopolising its legacy.”

The back to back scheduling of the parade and the vote has led to some seeing the celebration as a way to boost national pride and public support for Putin ahead of the landmark constitutional vote.

Daragh McDowell, head of Europe and principal Russia analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, acknowledged that the Victory Day parade is a major event for Russians, but said the timing of the parade “does serve a clearly discernible electoral purpose.”

McDowell continues: “Currently, the damage to the economy and public health from the pandemic — and the government’s uneven response — is clearly visible to most Russians and there are indicators it is sapping public support for Putin.

“The Victory Day parade is an impressive spectacle, a visible demonstration of Russian military power designed to invoke both national pride and respect for Putin’s re-establishment of a ‘strong’ Russia, which will circumvent concerns about Putin’s management of the domestic economy.”

In addition to the parade, Putin has been accused of the power play due to new coronavirus measures.

On Tuesday, Putin announced more financial support measures for families, lowered taxes for the IT industry and raised income tax on higher earners.

McDowell noted that Putin’s announcement Tuesday of more support measures for Russian citizens were “designed to combat the impression that the Kremlin is primarily interested in protecting the economic ‘oligarchy’ rather than ‘ordinary’ Russians.

He concluded: “Whether it will work remains to be seen.”



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