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The Red Army made a comeback today to celebrate defeating the Nazis

The Russian capital saw a massive WW2 parade despite a western boycott.
May 9th 2015, 3:36 PM 20,669 184

PRESIDENT VLADAMIR PUTIN led a huge commemorative WWII march through Red Square today as Russia celebrated 70 years since Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

Clutching a portrait of his father Vladimir, who fought in the war, Putin unexpectedly joined a massive column of some 250,000 Russians who carried pictures of their relatives in a Kremlin-backed campaign dubbed the “Immortal Regiment.”

“I think that my father, just like millions of simple soldiers – and he was a plain soldier — had every right to walk through this square,” Putin told reporters on Red Square.

The 62-year-old president said the campaign was a tribute to the country’s fallen soldiers and civilians but also a sign of Russia’s strength.

“It also speaks of our self-confidence, confidence in our strength and the happy future for our children.”

The crowds of Russians proudly carrying portraits of their relatives snaked along central Tverskaya street, Moscow’s main avenue, before reaching Red Square.

Earlier in the day Putin presided over a mammoth parade featuring more than 16,000 troops and cutting-edge military equipment.

In what is seen as punishment for Kremlin’s meddling in Ukraine, Western countries led by Russia’s World War II allies boycott the May 9 festivities, leaving Putin to mark the big day in the company of the leaders of China, Cuba, India and other Moscow-friendly figures.

But Putin chose to ignore the boycott, thanking Britain, France and the US for their “contribution” to the defeat of Germany.

“Our fathers and grandfathers went through unbearable suffering, deprivation and losses,” Putin said, feting the country’s veterans and the “grandeur of Victory over Nazism”.

“We are grateful to the people of Great Britain, France and the United States for their contribution to victory,” he added.

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AFP

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