Russia/Defense – Naval Parade Plays Into Putin’s Dangerous Vanity (The Jamestown Foundation)

Pavel K. Baev writes: Combat ships lined the Neva River in St. Petersburg and crowded the harbor of the nearby Kronstadt naval base last Sunday (July 25) for the parade marking the 325th anniversary of Russia’s navy, the Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot—VMF). It was only the sixth such Navy Day spectacle to date. In 2017, President Vladimir Putin decided that the annual May 9 Victory Day parade in Red Square in Moscow was not enough to convincingly demonstrate the full might of the Russian Armed Forces. Since then, the pomp around the mid-summer naval showcase has continued to rise, and the star of the “largest ever” parade this year was the Borei-A-class strategic submarine Knyaz Vladimir, accompanied by two more nuclear submarines from the Northern Fleet; a pair of Iranian warships featured among foreign guests (Fontanka, July 22). The impeccable spit and polish had to impress only one spectator—President Putin—because the sharp and deadly rise of the COVID-19 pandemic across Russia forced the city authorities in St. Petersburg to impose a ban on public gatherings (Novaya Gazeta, July 22).

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