May Celebrations Cancelled, a Symbolic Victory for Ukrainians

By Nina Bachkatov

While speculations about the Ukrainian counter-offensive are mounting up, the Kremlin’s decision to “downplay” the celebrations of 1st and 9th May offered an unexpected bonus for president Zelensky, just confronted with leaked unflattering American Intelligence reports questioning the preparedness of its armed forces and the wisdom of some decisions. Those 2 days are really popular dates on Russians’ calendar, each with its specificity. The 1st of May, the Day of Workers and Peasants in Soviet times, is a civilian event, with an accent on the international dimension of a day celebrated through all the world. The 9 May is different, the anniversary of the 1945 victory against Nazism in Europe, remembered a day later than in the West due to different time zones. The day includes a military parade in the morning followed by waves of festive crowds, taking over the boulevards and public parcs. Since 2012, a third element has been added – a cortege of ordinary people carrying pictures of relatives killed during WWII, known as The Immortal Regiment.

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