Russia marks the 8th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea: “We celebrate the return of justice”

Every year, for eight years, Russia celebrates in a debauchery of patriotism the attachment of Crimea to the Russian Federation, on March 18, 2014, after the annexation of the peninsula by the Russian army and a referendum not recognized by the international community. As per usual, the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow was packed. 85,000 spectators, and at least 30,000 outside in front of the giant screens, cheered several patriotic singers and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the crowd, civil servants who were sometimes strongly encouraged to come, and authentic supporters of the regime, like Guenadi, 80, who came with his two little girls, like every year. “It’s our party, Crimea is ours. For thousands of years, Crimea was Russian, but a big mistake happened that separated us. Now we celebrate the return of justice.”

Retransmission interrupted by a technical incident

Vladimir Putin paid a grandiloquent tribute to the Russian soldiers mobilized in Ukraine. “We see how heroically our boys behave and fight during this operation. Shoulder to shoulder. They help and support each other. We have never seen such unity.”

And after Vladimir Putin, several speakers have succeeded. In particular, we saw Margarita Simonian, the big boss of the RT channel (ex-Russia Today) come “to implore mother Russia to punish those who bombard Melitopol and Mariupol”, since, for the Russians, the destruction of the Mariupol theater is in fact a manipulation, carried out by the Ukrainians themselves to be able to designate Russia.

In the crowd, many are those who resent the West and particularly the Europeans. This is the case of Igor, a fifties, black jacket stamped with the “Z” of the Russian army. “They don’t see us as human beings and I don’t see them as human beings either. If they support fascists, that’s their problem. If they want us to come to Berlin again and in Paris, so we’ll go. And we’ll destroy the fascism and we can live normally again.”

The only false note of this precise ceremony: the television broadcast was interrupted in the middle of Vladimir Putin’s speech. There were several minutes of delay between the live and the retransmission. A server problem, according to the Kremlin. On site, in the stadium, everything went normally. The retransmission took place with several minutes of lag, and it was therefore abruptly interrupted.

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