Feature: Russia flexes military muscle in Victory Day parade   2011-05-10 00:07:55 FeedbackPrintRSS

MOSCOW, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Some 20,000 Russian soldiers and cadets stood on Red Square, shouting "Hurrah" with steady gaze in an annual military parade that marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany on Monday.

In addition to commemoration of Soviet victory in World War II and a tribute to fallen soldiers, the annual event is also an occasion for Moscow to display its military might.

The advanced S-400 Triumph air defense missiles and the pride of Russia's nuclear defense systems, the Iskander-M anti-craft missiles and the Topol-M ballistic missiles all appeared in the parade.

A group of Mi-8 multirole helicopters flew over Red Square during the parade, carrying Russia's national colors.

The troops and cadets, whose number doubled that of last year, were all in new-style field uniforms introduced to the Russian armed forces this year.

Two hundred elite officers from Russia's Space Forces marched on the Red Square for the first time in a Victory Day parade.

Peter Bulqiza, an 80-year-old veteran who had participated in the Great Patriotic War, the Russian term for World War II, said he was proud of his country and the parade.

"The parade paid respect to World War II soldiers and showed the world Russia's advanced weaponry and power of troops. The display is for peace," Bulqiza told Xinhua.

Before the march, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stressed that Russia "firmly upholds the principles of peaceful cooperation" and vowed to "contribute to the overall effort to maintain global stability in the world."

Medvedev noted in his speech that "the duty of our generation is to safeguard peace achieved by the Victory" and stressed that the modernization and development of the armed forces remains a key priority for the Russian leadership.

The president, accompanied by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other senior officials, foreign guests and hundreds of war veterans, watched the parade from a podium in front of Vladimir Lenin's mausoleum.

In April, Putin promised to spend 20 trillion rubles (718 billion U.S. dollars) over the next 10 years to renew Russia's armaments.

Moscow has allocated about 102 million rubles (about 3.7 million dollars) for the parade, which was seen as the key episode of the Victory Day celebrations in Russia.

In response to criticisms that the country was spending too much money on the parade, Medvedev said: "Sometimes I came across the opinion... But watching these parades, people see that we have an efficient army with capable equipment, and the army can perform real combat missions."

"Parades play an enormous instructional role in our country," the president added.

The first Victory Day parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 under the order of Joseph Stalin.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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