The Soviet Union’s WWII triumph over Nazi Germany is celebrated annually on May 9, a national holiday in Russia. It is a cornerstone of contemporary Russian national identity and may be the most significant event in the country’s public calendar and history.
Analysts agree Russia’s reduced military presence at this year’s Victory Day parade is a telling sign. It reflects the country’s dwindling military resources due to the conflict with Ukraine.
Only one tank from the Stalin era was displayed in the military march around Red Square. The lone tank trundling across Red Square during Russia’s traditional Victory Day celebrations on May 9 was a fitting symbol that Russia is in a tank crisis.
While the Kremlin was holding its traditional Victory Day Parade, honoring the Soviet Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Russian forces were taking terrible casualties in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
There were reportedly twice as many Russian tanks destroyed in action on Tuesday as tanks in the parade.
It was reported earlier this year that battle had already claimed the lives of half of Moscow’s tank force, prompting the Russian government to deploy hundreds of aging T-54/55 and T-62 tanks from storage.
A one-on-one tank combat may be beyond the capabilities of these ancient war weapons, but they may serve as a good defense platform.
As 19FortyFive notes, poorly prepared tank operators operating tanks older than their parents have a slim chance of surviving a head-on clash.
Russia’s forces may look stronger on paper if they use older tanks, but in practice, this strategy will lead to heavy deaths and more destroyed vehicles. There are already large numbers of abandoned tanks in Ukraine, and that number is expected to grow.
The only reference to war on Tuesday was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim to crowds in Red Square that “a real war is being waged against our Motherland,” even though Russia invaded its neighbor Ukraine, according to military analysts.