Dress Rehearsal On Red Square

Vladimir Filonov
President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the show of tanks and other military hardware at this year's Victory Day parade should not be seen as saber-rattling.


Vladimir Filonov


For the first time since the Soviet collapse, the annual military parade in Red Square is to include heavy military equipment including tanks and missiles. The equipment's return underlines the country's new assertiveness as the country increases defense spending to revive its military after years of post-Soviet decline. Russia over the past year has resumed well-publicized long-range bomber patrols and has proclaimed the development of sophisticated new weapons.

Those steps, combined with the Kremlin's increasing proclivity to criticize the West, are seen by many as signs of growing aggressiveness.


Vladimir Filonov


But Putin dismissed criticism that the parade shows Russia is becoming bellicose, telling a Cabinet meeting, "This isn't saber-rattling. We are not threatening anyone and are not intending to do so."

The meeting was Putin's last with the Cabinet as president. On Wednesday, his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, is to be inaugurated.

But Putin is expected to be named prime minister the following day.

The Victory Day parade on Friday is one of the country's most solemn and resonant public observances, commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany.


Vladimir Filonov


The return of heavy weapons to the parade "demonstrates our growing capability in the defense sphere," Putin said in remarks broadcast on state television. "We are in the condition to defend our people, our citizens, our state and our riches — of which there is quite a lot."