Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, on March 26, 2014. Siemens AG CEO Joe Kaeser told today Putin the German industrial giant plans long-term investment in Russia, in a key sign of confidence in Russia's economy despite the outcry over its intervention in Crimea. AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI /POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEVMIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images
President Putin hosted a Mask free Victory Parade to Boost Approval Ratings
Forgetting about Russia’s ongoing battle against covid19 President Putin celebrated the country’s victory against Nazi 75 years ago. He presided over a huge mask free victory parade that included thousands of soldiers without facemasks ignoring coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of Russian people turned out to celebrate the annual celebration of the Russian army defeating the Nazis but only a few of them remembered that Russia is the third most affected country by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 600,000 cases as they ignored social distancing and wearing masks.
The parade was initially scheduled on 9TH of May, a festive annual holiday which they call as Victory day. The outbreak of the virus delayed it for 6 weeks. The virus is still growing in Russia with nearly 614000 cases and 8600 deaths, though its spread is slowed.
Veterans aged between the 80s and 90s attended the celebration at which 14000 soldiers marched to martial music in tight formations. Nearly all of these veterans forgot about masks and ongoing pandemic.
So how did the veterans defy the virus? Well according to Mr. Putin 28 of those veterans spent more than 14 days in quarantine at a place outside Moscow.
Mr. Putin was hoping that this celebration will lift the mood of his country. The coronavirus pandemic has reduced his approval rating to an all-time low. By celebrating victory day Mr. Putin was surely looking to undo some of the damage the pandemic has done to his rating.
Some of the world leaders were planning to attend the celebration in May before it was moved. Among those were President of France Emmanuel Macron, President of Serbia, Alexander Vucic, and the leaders of Moldova and Belarus.
India and China, looking for Russia’s support due to their recent clashes in the border region of Ladakh, sent some of their leaders and soldiers. China sent the biggest foreign contingent.
Some critics were wary that Mr. President is gambling with the health of the public to gather more votes for his future. The voting will begin on Thursday that could give Putin the presidency of Russia till 2036 if he wins of course.
Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, requested the public to watch the parade on their TV screens instead of coming out as they usually do. But tens of thousands ignored his request and went out anyway. The gathering was still smaller than the usual.
One of the residents who ignored the request of the mayor said she went out to watch the parade as it was much more interesting to see it live.
Russia reported around 7500 cases on Thursday which is still less than a daily count of 10000 in May, but the public officials are concerned as the battle with coronavirus pandemic is still not over.
The risks of the spread of coronavirus can be estimated by the fact that two of the official delegates traveling from Kyrgyzstan were tested positive for the virus. The Kyrgyz President who was with them stayed away from the parade.
Whether this mask free victory parade was a wise move or not. The outcomes of Mr. president’s celebration in times of coronavirus pandemic will be here in a few weeks.