The Ukrainian businessman Volodimir Yatsenko offered two weeks ago 20 million hryvnas (almost half a million euros) to whoever sends a drone to Russia and makes it land on Red Square in Moscow on May 9, during the military parade on the day of the victory. After this announcement, accompanied by the repeated arrival of Ukrainian drones in various regions of Russia, the theory has been launched in media and social networks critical of the Kremlin that the closure of the center of Moscow responds to the possible impact of these devices. The press close to the Russian power has responded that this is nothing more than disinformation coming from Kyiv.
The truth is that the Russian authorities have announced this week that they are closing public access to Red Square during the two weeks prior to the military parade that this year will mark the 78th anniversary of the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany in World War II. World War.
Moscow has promoted Victory Day celebrations in recent years to infuse patriotism and support for its armed forces into Russian DNA. On May 9, military parades are held in major Russian cities. This year they are expected to have at least 25.
The Presidential Guard, in charge of Kremlin security, announced that “in connection with the preparation and celebration of solemn acts, Red Square will remain closed to the public from April 27 to May 10, 2023.” He did not explain, however, why.
Never before has access to Red Square been restricted for such a long period. It did not happen the year of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020, when the parade was postponed to June, nor last year, although Putin had sent the army to Ukraine just three months earlier. In 2022, Red Square was closed between May 4 and May 10. In 2018, the measure was applied between May 4 and 9, and in 2019, between days 6 and 9.
During the first months of the Russian military intervention in the neighboring country, sporadic artillery firing was recorded in Russian regions close to the border, especially in Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk. The list has been expanding as drones have been involved in these attacks. The arrival last year of two of these aircraft at two Russian military airfields in Saratov and Ryazan, hundreds of kilometers from the border, demonstrated Ukraine’s ability to hit targets inside Russia.
A businessman from Ukraine offered half a million to land a drone in Red Square on May 9
In February, a drone was found near the city of Kolomna, about a hundred kilometers from Moscow. On Monday, a crashed one was found in the Bolgorodski district, 30 kilometers east of the Russian capital. According to the local press, it was the third in two days.
For security reasons, on May 9 of this year there will be no military parades in Belgorod or Kursk, nor in the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014 and a territory also periodically hit by Kyiv drones.
In Moscow, the military parade is maintained. However, the Workers’ Day demonstration on May 1 will not be held. The Federation of Independent Trade Unions announced its cancellation in mid-April due to “the high level of terrorist threat”.
On April 2, a bomb attack killed the military blogger Vladlen Tatarski in Saint Petersburg, an action that the Russian authorities described as terrorist and whose organization they attributed to the Ukrainian secret services.
Nor will the march of the Immortal Regiment be held, either in Moscow or in any Russian city, a recent tradition that began in 2011 in Tomsk and takes place every May 9 after the military parade. In the packed procession, participants carry portraits of relatives who fought in the Great Patriotic War, as the Russians call their part of World War II. In 2020 and 2021, this action was carried out online due to the coronavirus. This year it can adopt the same format, which will be decided by each region of the country. According to the Ministry of the Interior, in 2022 12 million people participated in this march.