Support 100 years of independent journalism.

Vladimir Putin has little to celebrate at Victory Day parade

The president reiterated false claims of “denazifying” Ukraine, but did not announce any intentions to escalate the conflict.

By Ido Vock

Vladimir Putin has reiterated a familiar list of complaints and grievances at the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow, which marks the Soviet Union’s triumph over Nazi Germany in 1945. Russia was forced to invade Ukraine; its armed forces are fighting “Nazis” and “Banderovites” (Ukrainian fascists); Moscow is a fortress under siege from Nato. 

[See also: “He has embarked on a war he can’t stop”: Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Putin’s next move]

Putin did not, though, announce a ramping up of the war, though his language clearly committed him to a continuation of the fight on current terms. His short speech did not declare a mobilisation of reservists or an intensification of the military effort. It did not include a formal declaration that what he calls a “special military operation” is what it is, a war. Nor did he declare victory in the territory his forces have succeeded in seizing, principally in the south and east of Ukraine.

Video by Alix Kroeger and Phil Clarke Hill


It is virtually certain that Putin wanted this Victory Day to be different. He would have liked to declare today that Ukraine has been, as he grotesquely puts it, “denazified,” one of his euphemisms for completely defeated. Yet the Ukrainians’ stunning resistance put paid to that hope. The conflict may now drag on for months longer in the east of the country, with Russia’s exhausted forces at risk of possible counter-offences by well-supplied and motivated Ukrainian troops.

[See also: If Ukraine has a future, it’s with the EU]

Russia’s war in Ukraine is stuck. The front lines in the south and east of the country have not moved greatly since the first weeks of the war. In the north, the Ukrainians forced the Russians to retreat from their assault on Kyiv. Putin’s Victory Day speech showed that he does not have any good answers for how to extricate his country from the quagmire in which it finds itself.

Content from our partners
Why competition is the key to customer satisfaction
High streets remain vitally important to local communities
The future of gas
Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
THANK YOU