Putin Mocked for ‘Embarrassing’ Cancellation of Victory Day Parade


Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. Putin is receiving criticism for canceling this year’s May 9 parade due to what critics say is a response to a poor military operation against Ukraine.KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/GETTY

Russian President Vladimir Putin is being mocked after national military parades scheduled to take place next month are being canceled due to reported military shortcomings in the war against Ukraine.

The annual celebration, originally intended to take place on May 9, is typically Russia’s method of marking the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany during World War II—known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. Events are spread nationally, with the biggest event taking place in Moscow’s Red Square and consisting of a march-past of troops accompanied by a display of Russian military hardware.

Events have already been scrapped for so-called security reasons in Kursk and Belgorod, which are located near the Ukrainian border. Russian Telegram channel ASTRA reported that Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Belgorod Oblast, said that the parade “would also not be held in order not to provoke the enemy with a large number of vehicles and soldiers.”

“The significance of Victory Day for national identity in Putin’s Russia and the holiday’s close associations with the war in Ukraine make this year’s parade cancellations especially embarrassing,” wrote the Atlantic Council’s Peter Dickinson on Thursday. “Other public celebrations could be postponed or abandoned without much fuss, but failure to mark Victory Day points to serious problems that are difficult to disguise even in Russia’s tightly controlled information environment.”

Parades in Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 that has developed renewed focus by Ukraine’s military forces following last year’s invasion, have also been canceled.

“The authorities of the Republic of Crimea and the city-hero of Sevastopol made a joint decision not to hold festive demonstrations on May 1, the ‘Immortal Regiment’ marches and the military parade on May 9,” the Russian-appointed head of Crimea, Sergey Aksenov, wrote on Telegram. “This decision is due to security reasons.”

May 1 is May Day in Russia and will also not include any patriotic-themed fare.

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said Russian officials’ decision goes beyond security and is a way to avoid possible critiques of the country’s “special military operation” that has included high casualty counts, according to figures released by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“Honoring the fallen of previous generations could easily blur into exposing the scope of the recent losses, which the Kremlin attempts to cover up,” said an intelligence update by the ministry on Thursday.

No matter the actual reason for the cancelations, it has led to more criticism by some about Russia’s current military standing.

“Nothing says you’re a grand strategist quite like not having enough soldiers & equipment to hold an annual parade,” tweeted Mark Hertling, former commanding general of U.S. Army Europe.

“It’s possible last year was the last Moscow Victory Parade we may see for some years,” tweeted retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. “After all, it was Putin who started celebrating Victory Day annually rather than on major anniversaries.”

Twitter user Randy Bryce, whose profile indicates he is a military veteran, tweeted, “Gotta feel for a guy who doesn’t have enough tanks for a military parade because they’re getting blown up in a country he invaded.”

Business Ukraine Magazine, an independent quarterly journal covering Ukrainian current affairs, tweeted that “the Tsar is naked.”

“Vladimir Putin expected to defeat Ukraine in just three days,” the magazine wrote. “14 months later, he’s now being forced to cancel his beloved Victory Day parades in a string of Russian cities for fear of Ukrainian attacks.”

Mikhail Troitskiy, professor of practice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Newsweek via email on Friday that massing enough equipment to showcase is lesser of an issue for Russia than the prospect of opening itself up to potential Ukrainian attacks on personnel and equipment—including drones, short-range missiles and artillery that Kyiv has used to conduct strikes deep into Russian territory.

“Much more intriguing and telling would be the Kremlin’s decision on the Victory Day parade in Moscow,” Troitskiy said. “Breaking with Russia’s identity-making tradition and canceling the Moscow parade would require a serious rationale. Short of a major escalation in Russia’s war against Ukraine by May, a surprise yet powerful precision strike by Kyiv against a parade in Moscow is not likely.”

Russia’s reasoning could alter, he added, if Ukraine conducted some sort of major counteroffensive prior to May 9. He said such a scenario could provoke Putin to announce the resumption of Russia’s mobilization effort or to introduce martial law if the battlefield situation became untenable.

“Cancellation of the Victory Day activities in Moscow becomes likely if by May 9 martial law is already in force and Russia’s citizens are being rounded up en masse and sent to fight against Ukraine,” Troitskiy said. “In that case, the Kremlin may announce ‘postponing’ of the May 9 parade until victory in Russia’s ‘new war’—the one against Ukraine.”

Newsweek reached out to the Kremlin via email for comment.


  1. So, some of the “great” victory day parades are being called off because there is fear of Ukraine, which is good, and because there is a lack of equipment and meat puppets, which is better. Calling off such a holy event should wake up the last brainwashed ruskie, but it won’t.

    • I suppose the ruzzians wouldn’t be interested in a parade with balloons, floats or music because there’s nothing there to take their misery away like there would be with tanks, guns and vodka…
      Vladimir the Short fails again!

  2. Perhaps NATO planes could do a mass fly-over to help take their minds off of their misery.

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