Tag Archives: Parade

Never As Strong

One’s been reminded recently of the adage (attributed to Churchill and others) that Russia (and its military) is never as strong, nor as weak, as it seems to be.

Its military strength or weakness slides along a scale, constantly shifting. Though appearing to be in one place, it’s often already moving (or starting to move) in the opposite direction.

Yesterday’s Red Square military parade marked the 69th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War.  It was quite an impressive display of fair Slavic manhood.

Defense Minister Shoygu Reviews Troops Before 9 May Parade

Defense Minister Shoygu Reviews Troops Before 9 May Parade

As every year, Moscow understandably put its best foot forward.  But we’d do well to remember this isn’t necessarily the face of the entire Russian military.

This is the same country that gave us the Potemkin village and infamous 1955 Soviet Aviation Day flyover (and bomber gap).  Be impressed, but don’t go overboard like many comments you’ll read.

Russia’s armed forces have clearly improved in recent years.  There’s even been an uptick since Shoygu replaced Serdyukov.

But is Russia’s military development on a sustainable trajectory?

Probably not, in this writer’s estimation.

Shoygu Likes Things on a Soviet Scale

Shoygu Likes Things on a Soviet Scale

Shoygu’s efforts appear aimed at returning the armed forces to something approximating Soviet scale (or the unreformed, pre-2008 Russian scale at least).

Despite the problems he ultimately caused, Serdyukov tried — not just to reduce the military’s proportions — but to make it fit its manpower, its logistical support, and its most likely threats.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its build-up opposite eastern Ukraine have spurred observers  to assess that Ivan’s 7-feet-tall and growing.  Many of them never looked at Russia’s military prior to March.

One’s strength is inversely proportional to that of the enemy.  Everything is net assessment.  Three long-time analysts have concluded:

“You don’t have to be good to win — just better than your foe.”

“The Russians were capable of confronting an inferior force that is right next door.”

“It’s an impressive operation, but it’s an 80% political operation.  The military are there to stand around and look menacing.  It’s not as if they took Crimea.”

We should also note the Russians already had a huge military presence inside the borders of the country whose territorial integrity and sovereignty they violated.

Russia isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) great power or superpower to use its foreign military bases for such a purpose.

Such actions usually carry a high diplomatic, political, military, and economic price that has to be paid eventually.

70 Years Ago

It was an event that sparked our interest in the USSR, in Russia.  Red Army troops marched heroically from the November 7, 1941 parade marking the 24th anniversary of the October Revolution straight into battle on Moscow’s outskirts.  Here’s how RT covered today’s reenactment.

Here’s the grainy film showing the actual event.

One can’t help imagining what these young men faced, and what must have happened to them.

Here’s Stalin’s speech.

Stalin, who was paralyzed for days after German invasion, tells the Soviet people that, although conditions are difficult, they aren’t as bad as what the country faced in 1918.  And he declares the German Army has not gained the quick victory it expected, and is not invincible.  But Stalin also promises an early defeat of the invaders that wasn’t in the cards either.

Full Parade Coverage

Here’s Pervyy kanal’s complete coverage of today’s parade.  The second half starts as soon as you reach the end of the first.

Victory Day Parade

Here’s the link for Vesti.ru’s seven-minute report on today’s 63-minute Red Square parade.

New Mil.ru

The New Mil.ru

A new look for the RF Defense Ministry website’s been unveiled (in testing mode, so far).

The first treat we’re supposed to get is video from tonight’s Red Square rehearsal of Monday’s Victory Day parade.  There’s a place to click for it, but it’s obviously not loaded yet.

So, say farewell to the old Mil.ru.

Farewell Old Mil.ru

Old Mil.ru had a nice rundown of the Defense Ministry’s organizational structure that was once well maintained, but became an untended mess after Anatoliy Serdyukov arrived in 2007 and changed the Russian military bureaucracy in myriad ways.

RF Defense Ministry Structure on the Old Mil.ru

New Mil.ru is pared down, so far, in this respect, showing only a slicker (but up-to-date) rundown of Serdyukov’s deputies.

New Defense Ministry Leadership Page