Columns of tanks and troops paraded through Red Square on Wednesday as President Vladimir Putin oversaw grand World War II commemorations.
Forced to postpone the country’s traditional May 9 Victory Day celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Putin rescheduled the parade for just a week ahead of a July 1 public vote on controversial constitutional reforms.
Among other changes, the reforms Putin proposed earlier this year would reset the presidential term-limit clock to zero, allowing him to potentially stay in the Kremlin until 2036.
This year’s parade, marking 75 years since the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany, included some 14,000 soldiers from 13 countries, as well as vintage equipment and the latest military hardware showing off Russia’s fighting capabilities.
Officials say the date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the first post-war parade on Red Square, which saw Soviet troops throw down Nazi standards in front of the Lenin mausoleum on June 24, 1945.