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Vladimir Putin: Russian President ‘Afraid’ of Resistance?; Reiterates Importance of Military Strength Military on Victory Day

Russia's Vladimir Putin in a bilateral meeting with then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016 | Photo by State Department Photo/Public Domain via Flickr.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin, as expected, staged a massive show of force on Victory Day while his speech focused on the supposed threat of “collective resistance.” Ironically, the big weapons were met with a report that the state leader is still afraid of something despite the display of power.

Victory Day is one of the most important holidays in Russia as it is the commemoration of the day when the then Soviet Union won against forces of Nazi Germany. It is annually celebrated on May 9. Amid the celebrations, Putin focused his speech on strengthening their country’s armed forces. “Collective resistance to the bearers of deadly ideas is crucial once again,” Putin said.

He then made reference to extremist ideologies such as terrorism and neo-Nazism. The Russian president added, “We did and will continue doing all that's necessary to ensure the high defense capability of our armed forces, the defense potential of the most advanced weapons and to further strengthen the prestige of the military service, the prestige of soldiers and officers and Fatherland defenders.”

Putin also talked about cooperating with other states, without specifically mentioning any, who are already exerting effort in fighting neo-Nazis and other extremists groups. “We call on all countries to realize our shared responsibility for creating an effective, balanced security system,” Putin said. Reports have it that over 13,000 military forces were present at the Victory Day parade where 130 weapons, including nuclear missiles, were showcased.

Despite the grandiose show of power, journalist Eli Lake pointed out that the growing number of political prisoners in Russia is proof that Putin is still afraid of something, and that is people’s dissent. In an op-ed (via The Moscow Times), Lake took note of a report from the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners that 236 political prisoners are currently being held in Russia as of March 25. It is a significant leap from a total of 46 recorded in 2015.

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