Moscow: Russian flags, anti-Nazi slogans, patriotic songs and … a breakdown that makes Vladimir Putin disappear from the screens. Russia celebrated, on Friday, eight years since the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, in an all-out attack on its pro-Western neighbour.
Banners “For a Nazi-free World” and “For Russia” are hoisted in the crowded Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, as Russia justifies its military operation in Ukraine by the need to “discredit” the country, accused of genocide of the Russian-speaking population.
The letter “Z” also adorned the chests of the loudspeakers in front of the audience, and this letter became a national symbol because it was engraved on many Russian tanks deployed in combat zones.
The highlight of the show, which was attended by 95 thousand spectators in the stadium and 100 thousand outside according to police statistics, was the speech of the Russian president, who came dressed in a dark blue jacket and a cream turtleneck.
Vladimir Putin was praising the heroism of Russian soldiers engaged in Ukraine when the public television channel Rossiya-24 suddenly interrupted its intervention, showing other moments from the same event.
Fifteen minutes later, the television resumed broadcasting the intervention of the Kremlin master, and was delayed.
Then the presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian news agencies that the broadcast was disrupted due to a “technical server failure.”
In his speech, the president celebrated the “return” of Crimea to Russia in 2014, which was annexed after a pro-Western revolution in Kyiv, and the president praised the forces involved today in Ukraine, citing in particular the Bible.
“The words that come to me are those of the scriptures: There is no greater love than to give your life for your friends,” he said, walking on the stage.
And to the sound of “Russia, Russia,” to which the crowd chanted, the “heroism” of the Russian soldiers “fighting and moving side by side during this military operation and who, if necessary, cover themselves with their bodies.” Companion to cut the path of “bullet”.
Made in the USSR
“It has been a long time since we experienced such loneliness,” he said.
The event also featured patriotic songs of famous singers. Oleg Gazmanov took charge of the “Made in the Soviet Union” campaign, which specifically declares “Ukraine, Crimea, Belarus and Moldova, this is my country.”
Political figures, sports medals and artists took to the stage, messages of loyalty to President Putin multiplied, while tens of thousands of people waved state flags and banners stamped with the letter “Z”.
“We are a state and a people that values peace, defends it and fights evil (…) True freedom is to be free from evil. We cannot be afraid because we live in love and faith,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy.
The father of a pro-Russian separatist from eastern Ukraine, who died a few days ago, rose to salute the Russian army “which is on the front line”.
“I want to tell you the president’s support,” declared Artyom Juga, who came to the occasion, commanding a separatist unit on the Donetsk front.
The ceremony declared that “a nation that believes in its president cannot be defeated.”
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