2020 Moscow Victory Day Parade

Enlarge Turkmenistan 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division
Emblem of the 75th anniversary Victory Day Parade
Full version of the 2020 Moscow Victory Day Parade.

The 2020 Moscow Victory Day Parade was a military parade that took place in Moscow's Red Square on 24 June 2020[1][2] to commemorate the 75th Diamond Jubilee of both the capitulation of Nazi Germany in the Second World War in 1945 and the historic Moscow Victory Parade of 1945.

For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resumption of military parades in 1995, this is the first parade to be cancelled on a holiday itself. Originally scheduled to take place on May 9, the Kremlin decided to postpone the parade to a later date amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.[3] Close to 3.6 million Muscovites watched the live broadcast of the parade.[4]


Start of the parade.
Military equipment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his seventeenth holiday address to the nation after the parade inspection presided over by Minister of Defense General of the Army Sergey Shoygu, accompanied by the parade commander General of the Army Oleg Salyukov, Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, who will be in the parade for the seventh consecutive year. The ceremonies honoured the 1945 parade, with the bands playing the Jubilee Slow March "25 Years of the Red Army" at the outset of the inspection stage.[5] Every year, for several days of Victory Day celebrations, a dress rehearsal of the Parade is held in the Armed Forces' Alabino Training Range in Moscow Oblast, which exactly repeats the holiday program itself. On this day, huge columns of military personnel, cadets and representatives of law enforcement agencies, legendary and modern military equipment take to the streets, and dozens of modern planes and helicopters appear in the skies above the federal capital. All actions of rehearsal participants are usually so coordinated that what is happening is called a mini-parade.

For the first time, 20 samples of the latest armoured and aviation equipment, including the Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicles and the latest S-300V4 and S-350 air defense systems, took part in the parade[6] which involved 1,250 bandsmen, an estimated 16,000 personnel in the ground column, 4,500 in the mobile column of around 250 plus vehicles (including historical vehicles from the Second World War), and 600 aircraft crew personnel of the 80-strong flypast.

Foreign troops

Participants of the Victory Day parade 24 June 2020 versus 9 May 2015
A schematic of the foreign troops in the parade.
Members of the Indian contingent on Red Square.

In addition to troops from the Russian Armed Forces, contingents from 20 foreign countries were also planned be on parade, groups from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),[7][8] as well as contingents from China, India,[9] Serbia, France, the United Kingdom, United States, Poland and Mongolia, returning after a 5 to 10-year hiatus. Parade groups from Belarus, Egypt, Israel, and Iran were planned to be invited.[10][11] Many of these plans however were scratched in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The original contingent from Kyrgyzstan was supposed to be provided by the Honour Guard of the National Guard of Kyrgyzstan. However, this was scrapped after it became known that one of its members had become infected with the coronavirus.[12] A contingent from the General Staff represented the country in their place.[13] Days before the parade, it was reported that multiple members of the Belarusian contingent had become ill with the coronavirus.[14]

The Turkmen contingent consisted of two color guards (one carrying the Flag of Turkmenistan and the other carrying the combat flag of the 748th Infantry Regiment of the 206th Rifle Division) riding in two GAZ-M20 Pobeda cars brought in from the Turkmen capital.[15] After their appearance, the contingent were quarintined at a hospital in Turkmenabad.[16] Other Red Army banners that were carried by foreign contingents included the banners of the 89th Rifle Division, the 8th Guards Motor Rifle Division, the Zheleznyak Partisan Detachment, and three units who participated in the Minsk Offensive.[17][18]

Invited attendees


The first official invitations came during the 2019 G20 Osaka summit, with invitations going to US President Donald Trump, French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.[19] The invitation to President Trump was reiterated in a phone call with Putin later that year.[20][21][22] However, President Trump would later decline the invitation in a diplomatic cable to Moscow, sending National Security Advisor (United States) Robert O'Brien, to attend on his behalf.)[23] In December 2019, an official invitation was sent to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by the Russian Embassy in Ankara.[24] President Putin has also at various times invited multiple heads of state from the CIS and the CSTO.[25][26]

In January 2020, former Polish President Lech Walesa expressed a willingness to come to Moscow for the parade if he received an invitation.[27][28] In an interview with an Estonian news agency, Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik alluded to the parade by saying that he would not recommend that President Kersti Kaljulaid visit on such an occasion.[29] United Nations General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said in an interview to Sputnik that he would be "honored" to attend the parade if invited.[30] In early June 2020, despite having accepted the invitation earlier this year, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe announced that he will skip the parade due to the 46th G7 summit (which was itself rescheduled).[31] It is currently unknown who represented Japan at the parade.

As of 14 June 2020, a total of 31 foreign heads of state and government, along with 4 multilateral leaders, had accepted the invitation to this year’s parade. However, following the rescheduling of the event to 24 June 2020, more than two-thirds of the leaders had withdrawn their invitation (mostly due to scheduling conflicts and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions). The Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov said that 12 heads of state had confirmed their attendance to the rescheduled event.

Guest list

Original composition

Over 30 guests accepted the invitation to the 2020 parade. However, most of them had done this before the postponement (abide to the original 9 May schedule). The following names indicate leaders either who did not reconfirm their attendance to the rescheduled 24 June parade or leaders who reconfirmed but decided to cancel their attendance the week prior to the parade:

Among those who were also invited were United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.[52]

Final list

The following is a list of leaders who confirmed their attendance to the 24 June parade. The guest list includes 10 heads of state and government of different European and Asian nations, among other heads of international organizations.[53][53] Many foreign leaders who could not attend the 24 June parade sent their defense or foreign ministers as well as ambassadors to the parade in their place:

Other foreign guests included Serbian filmmaker and actor Emir Kusturica[80] as well as Minister of Defence of the Republic of Belarus Major General Viktor Khrenin,[81] American boxer Roy Jones Jr.[82] and Moldovan National Security Advisor Victor Gaiciuc.[83]


Soldiers wearing face masks during the rehearsal.

Since November 2019, preparations for the parade had been ongoing at the unit level. Individual and unit practices were held in the various unit locations. In March 2020 the days of full parade rehearsal and practice run throughs at the training center at Alabino, Moscow Oblast formally commenced the national preparations for the diamond jubilee celebrations, with the ground and mobile columns first to take their practice rounds in front of the national and international press representatives. The flypast segment of the parade began its preparations in early June just weeks before the main parade itself, first in Kubinka airfield and later on joining the Alabino run-through.

Timeline for preparatory activities in Moscow

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic

A military band during a local "personal parade".

As the parade practice runs began on 24–25 March in Alabino, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the preparations for the parade heavily. The Moscow city government proposed holding the parade without any spectators for the sake of public health, especially of the Second World War veterans and their families who were a big part of the audience in the past. Only select reporters and cameramen of Russian TV channels, as well as the press personnel of the Ministry of Defence, stayed there to cover the proceedings.[85][86] Alternative proposals were also discussed, including the postponement of the parade to 24 June (anniversary of the Moscow Victory Day Parade of 1945), 2 September (Victory over Japan Day), or 7 November in replacement of the Memorial Parade in honor of the anniversary of the 1941 October Revolution Parade.[87][88] The former was sponsored in the State Duma by A Just Russia leader Sergey Mironov.[89] 24 June was announced as the new date for the parade in a video conference on 26 May.[90][91] Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced that the government expected the situation to improve further before that date.[92] Two days later, the corresponding executive order was signed.[93]

Postponement and replacement celebrations on 9 May

Flypast over Moscow on 9 May, 10:28 (local time)

On 16 April 2020, President Vladimir Putin announced the postponement of the Victory Day parade, which is supposed to be held on 9 May. The day before, representatives of Russian veterans associations asked Putin to postpone the celebrations to a later date.[94] The Immortal Regiment march, which is supposed to be held on the same day, has also been postponed.[95][96] On April 28, President Putin announced that an air military parade would be held on 9 May in Moscow as well as in other cities of Russia.[97][98] Two days later, an official in the Western Military District announced that an air show would also be held at the Kubinka air base.[99] Many veterans had their very own "personal parades", being organized at their homes by soldiers of local military units.[100][101][102]

On the morning of 9 May, Putin inspected a small parade of the Kremlin Regiment of the Federal Protective Service at Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin.[103] He then went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to attend a wreath laying ceremony.[104]

Full order of the 2020 parade

Mi-8 helicopters in fly-past.
General Sergey Shoigu just prior to delivering the parade report.

Bold indicates first appearance, italic indicates multiple appearances, Bold and italic indicate returning appearance, all indicated unless otherwise noted.

Military bands

Infantry column

Mobile column

A column of T-34/85 tanks.

Air fly-past column

The Russian tricolour flying over Red Square.


Other parades

In Russia

As per tradition, 27 other Russian major cities (Sevastopol and Kerch in the disputed Crimea included) are expected to hold commemorative parades on the same day as Moscow's (some of them including flypasts and fleet reviews expected in Kaliningrad, Saint Petersburg, Sevastopol, Murmansk, Vladivostok and Astrakhan), and joint civil-military parades were hosted by over 20 other towns and cities nationwide, with three cities moving their parades to other dates in Perm Krai, Belgorod Oblast and Oryol Oblast (the first of 12 to do so).[135] The new dates for the parades there, respectively, are on 3 September (Victory over Japan Day), 12 July (Belgorod City Day), and 5 August (Oryol Liberation Day). The parade in Komi was set for 4 September on the occasion of the republic's 99th anniversary, which will be a kick-off towards the celebrations in 2021 of the republic's centennial jubilee year anniversary.[136] The website Znak.com reported that at least 40 regions in Russia had cancelled their parades or held them without spectators due to the virus, where 30 major cities had cancelled their parade.[137] Once more, marking a historic anniversary since the victory in Europe, for the second straight year the mobile column of the St. Petersburg parade on Palace Square, one of the biggest regional parades outside Moscow, displayed Soviet unit banners perpetuating the Second World War lineage and service of the formations that provided the vehicles (save for the Military Police, whose service banner was displayed). This happened for the first time in Yekaterinburg's 1905 Square during the mobile column segment. The Head of the Joint Operative Headquarters of the Norwegian Armed Forces Rune Jakobsen led the delegation at the parade in Murmansk at the invitation of the Commander of the Northern Fleet.[138]

In early 2020, it was confirmed that foreign servicemen from the armed forces of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will take part in the parade in Yekaterinburg,[139] as well a 80-man contingent from Armenia in Rostov-on-Don,[140][141] and a contingent from Norway in Murmansk,[142] plans which were later scrapped.

In other countries

Celebrations of the holiday were held in almost all the former republics of the Soviet Union in celebration of this milestone anniversary, including in the following cities:

Kazakhstan cancelled its Victory Day parade in Nur-Sultan on 12 March 2020 as preventive measures against the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.[143] The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic celebrated the day with a parade and other activities in Stepanakert on 9 May, also celebrating the 28th anniversary of the Capture of Shusha during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Due to the pandemic, only small celebrations were held, plus a flypast at Yerevan's Mother Armenia monument in Armenia as a tribute to all who fought in both the Second World War and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.[144]

Belarus and Turkmenistan were the only nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States to hold diamond jubilee parades on 9 May.[145] In Turkmenistan, the 75th anniversary of the victory in the war was celebrated with a military parade for the first time.[146][146][147] being held at a square in front of the Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex, with a special appearance by the banner of the 748th Infantry Regiment of the 206th Rifle Division of the 2nd Ukrainian Front, which was brought into the capital from Moscow.[148][149][150] When speaking on the decision to hold the parade in Minsk, President Alexander Lukashenko described it as "an emotional, deeply ideological thing".[151] There were reports that suggested university students were offered incentives (including academic and dormitory bonuses for members of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences and recovered COVID-19 patients) to attend the parade.[152][153]

See also


  1. ^ Despite already being in Moscow to attend the parade, Kyrgyz president Sooronbay Jeenbekov returned to Bishkek at last minute after COVID-19 cases were detected in his delegation.[69]

External links


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