Why does Russia parade its tanks and missiles?

I am truly curious as to certain aspects of Russian society. In particular, why does Russia have massive national military parades displaying fierce weapons? Do Russians perceive parades of tanks, missiles, and cannons as disturbing to the rest of the world? Furthermore, do average everyday Russians ever associate such parades as warmongering or saber rattling? Have Russians ever considered that perhaps the global community perceives their displays as such? And finally, within Russia have people ever voiced opposition to such parading? Do Russians ever criticize those elsewhere who similarly parade as they do as being threatening or provocative? I look forward to your response. 

Victory Day Parade Moscow Russia
Photo Credit: Home & Away

Thank you for a most interesting question. You are correct in saying that Russia’s arsenal is formidable. Russia’s military parades are, most of all, a reflection of pride in the country’s storied military history.

During these parades, which are always tied to important holidays, it is not merely the hardware that the world sees on display. Many times in the last century Russia has been defended by brilliant strategic minds, by groundbreaking scientific achievements (some of which are reflected in the technology displayed), and by the lives of grandparents and great grandparents of today’s adults and youths. All of that is showcased in these events. Holidays that feature such parades are family-friendly celebrations, and bring Russians from all walks of life together at outdoor celebrations and parties. The mood is not one of hostility, but rather, of unity, respect and gratitude. It has been that way for decades.

I am one of millions of Russians – and people of Russian descent – for whom such events are personal and relevant. Almost every Russian and CIS family includes war veterans in its recent ancestral history. For these reasons, honoring veterans and the sacrifices they have made is a crucial part of the Russian culture. Russian veterans are held in the utmost regard by society and veterans issues are a crucial part of social policy. Events like the ones you asked about pay tribute to what they gave of themselves for their countrymen.

These kinds of traditions are also not specific to Russia. Many countries celebrate the accomplishments of their armed forces in public ways.

Moscow veterans Victory Day
Photo Credit: Home & Away

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