Since 1995, a military parade has been annually held on May 9. This year, however, due to the massive spread of the novel COVID-19 and quarantine restrictions introduced, the May 9 events were limited to an air show, while the main festivities were postponed until June 24. Despite the fact that Moscow remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Russia, preparations for the gig are now at full swing.
The organizers pursue a perverted conviction that the propaganda-driven motives are above health and safety of the nation. Too boost voters' optimism, Russian government is hastily easing quarantine bans both in the capital and beyond – in cities where parades are scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Moscow show – all on the eve of the "most significant event" - the July 1 referendum, which is set to allow Putin to remain in power for at least another two consecutive terms, that's 10 years.
Note this: on June 18, the number of new active cases in Russia was greater than in the rest of Europe – that's 9,835 against 6,115. WHO is starting to question Russia's surprisingly low COVID-19 mortality rate while the country is the world's third-hottest corona epicenter (a total of 593,000 cases revealed) with only 6,533 deaths officially reported (the 13th spot worldwide).
Russians are already opening their eyes to realize that the mighty parade is just a tool to facilitate their acceptance of the inevitable constitutional changes, which the majority sees as the Kremlin's unwavering intention to reset the count of Putin's presidential term at all costs, which has become a source of contempt and annoyance. The parade is being held to support the authorities' legitimacy – not so much before the nation but rather the political elite, who are no longer able and willing to share with the people the same political ideology and neither they are ready to address modern challenges.
Although the daily corona stats are still rather high, the Kremlin hopes (despite the dynamics of the incidence dynamics) that the "official reports" by June 24 will be claiming a downward trend, especially in the army. As we know, Russian military have traditionally been shady about the troops' health status.
Meanwhile, a total of some 64,000 military will partake in festivities, as well as cadets and the so-called "Youth Army" kids, while Red Square alone will see 14,000 troops marching alongside 800 cadets.
In the face of poor sanitary conditions at military bases where drafted troops live in barracks, not being able to stick to social distancing rules even in theory, Russian military remain under constyant threat of mass corona outbreaks. Scarce reports from time to time provide a sneak peek into some of such hotbeds in the Russian army where hundreds, and sometimes thousands of soldiers contract the virus in a short period of time. Another aggravating factor is poor immune system of most conscripts – after all, defense officials had earlier admitted that every second draftee had a serious record of health issues.
Recently, the Russian defense ministry reported that they only do physicals and apply temperature screening to spot possible infection early. Testing remains scarce amid a significant lack of kits, including in civilian hospitals re-profiled to treat COVID-19 patients. There are also massive shortages in PPE supplies. Face masks produced by the army itself don't get delivered to army units as priority is given to Russian regional hospitals where corona stats are extremely depressing, as well as to servicing Kremlin's PR stunts on foreign soil.
Today, 12 Russian cities have already snubbed the parade due to local spikes and in the face of a worsening trend.
This is the reaction of governors to an increase in incidence with a tendency to worsen the situation. The Rospotrebnadzor watchdog is struggling to issue proper recommendations. On the one hand, they need to ensure a massive parade and voter turnout at the upcoming referendum, but on the other hand they still need to somehow keep people safe. Meanwhile, health care facilities across the country are already mobilizing their staff in anticipation of another wave of coronavirus that will be imminent if presidential administration's orders to ensure turnout are fulfilled.
Think about it .... - After all, Russia's fifth largest army in the world of 900 thousand troops cannot be an “exemplary example” of resistance to the virus, and given the many aggravating factors, this is an ideal breeding ground for any respiratory illness ...
Come to think about it… The world's fifth-largest, Russian 900,000-strong army cannot be an infection-resistant role model. Given the great variety of aggravating factors, this is in fact a perfect breeding ground for any kind of respiratory illness.