For this years’s anniversary of Victory in Europe day, troops from France, UK, US and other NATO countries joined the traditional Russian victory day parade in Moscow. The BBC reports with video footage.
Stalin’s Soviet Union suffered the greatest number of wartime losses in resisting Nazi occupation and in defeating Germany. Yet the subsequent Cold War standoff in Europe left the wartime allies on different sides of the ‘Iron Curtain’, with the Soviet Union (Russia) feeling aggrieved that its sacrifices had not been fully acknowledged in the West.
‘Ukraine’s biggest failing is not that it is selling out to Russia but that it has repeatedly missed the chance to reform itself’ according to The Economist in this assessment of the ‘ships for gas’ decision.
The true value of Sebastopol to the Russians is symbolic. A city of Russian glory built by Catherine the Great, it has a big place in the national psyche. Withdrawal from Sebastopol, which was besieged and suffered grievously in the Crimean and “great patriotic” wars, would be a humiliation. Russia’s presence in the Russian-speaking city is also a symbol of wider influence across the post-Soviet space.
‘Poland was confronting the worst political disaster in its postwar history after President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and dozens of top officials were killed when their plane crashed in thick fog on Saturday in western Russia.’
Read this report of a political disaster from The Observer. Though ‘new news’, the context is also revealing. The Polish president has been travelling to an event to commemorate the Katyn massacre – so thoughts were on the long, troubled relationship between Poland and Russia.