Putin reviews military at Victory Day parade

STORY: The anniversary was barely marked in public in the Soviet Union before 1965. Until the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it was confined to major anniversaries, with an emphasis on honoring veterans.

Since 2008, under Putin, Victory Day has become an occasion not only to honor the sacrifices of a previous generation, which are seared into older Russians' folk memory, but also to burnish an image of post-Communist Russia restored to the greatness of former years.

Ahead of Monday's parade there had been speculation that Putin would use his address to formally declare war on Ukraine, or to order a general mobilization to help reinforce Russia's campaign - suggestions that the Kremlin dismissed.

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