Moscow commemorates victory after the Battle of Stalingrad

Russia commemorated this Thursday the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, an occasion that Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to compare the Second World War with his military campaign in Ukraine, stating: “we are once again threatened by German tanks”.

For years, the Russian president has presented himself as the greatest defender of the memory of the victory of the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, a feat that in Russia is a source of great pride.

The celebrations come at a time of fierce fighting between Russian forces and Ukrainian soldiers in the former Soviet republic, the scene for almost a year of a Russian offensive launched, according to the Kremlin, to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the neighboring country.

Yesterday Thursday, in front of soldiers covered in medals and officers gathered in Volgograd (southwest), formerly called Stalingrad, Putin once again compared the resistance against Hitler with the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

“It’s unbelievable, but we are once again threatened by German tanks,” the Russian president declared, equating Hitler’s Panzers with German-made Leopard 2 armored vehicles, which several Western countries promised to supply kyiv.

“Once again, Hitler’s successors want to confront Russia on Ukrainian soil, using ‘banderovtsis,'” he added, referring to supporters of ultranationalist leader Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War.

According to his detractors, Vladimir Putin uses history to justify his policies, even at the cost of glorifying the power of the Soviet Union and downplaying its crimes.

Stalin bust

The Battle of Stalingrad (1942-1943), considered one of the bloodiest in history, with close to two million dead on both sides, changed the course of the conflict in the Soviet Union, demoralized after several defeats.

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The symbolism of that victory increases as the first anniversary of the launch of the Russian operation in Ukraine approaches, on February 24, 2022.

On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the victory of Stalingrad, a bust of Stalin was unveiled in the city, along with those of two military leaders famous for their roles in the battle, Georgy Zhukov and Aleksandr Vasilevsky.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian authorities have maintained an ambivalent position towards Stalin.

He is officially condemned for the state terror he orchestrated in the 1930s and until his death in 1953, but remains buried opposite the Kremlin in Red Square and is still revered by many Russians for his role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. at the hands of the Soviet Union.

Yesterday, a military parade was organized in Volgograd. Bouquets of flowers were laid on the Mamayev Kurgan, a strategic hill that was the subject of fierce fighting and has been a pilgrimage site for decades for those who wish to pay tribute to Soviet soldiers.

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