Russia leads scaled down victory parade for 2023

Matthew Fox

On May 9th, 2023, a parade was hosted in Moscow, Russia. This parade commemorates the Soviet victory in Europe during the second world war. Typically, these parades signify Russian military strength, to represent the old Soviet strength. Usually they’re a very grandiose national occasion. With thousands of troops and vehicles marching in formation. However, this year something was significantly different.


The parade for this year was a massively down-scaled event, although they did show off the S-400, a next generation air defense system. One of the key prides of the Russian military, that being its substantial quantities of modern tanks, was missing. With only a single, Soviet era T-34 main battle tank being present. It’s worth noting that the amount of infantry was also scaled down, with there only being about 8,000 men present, as opposed to the traditional 11,000. It’s also worth pointing out that most of these were low ranking cadets. 


Although a speculative assessment, it leads many analysts to believe that Russia’s armor stockpiles are decreasing massively as a result of losses suffered in Ukraine. It also calls into question Russia’s ability to produce new vehicles at an adequate rate. Another telling aspect to this, is the fact that Russian forces have been stalled in the city of Bakhmut for nearly 7 months. Despite Russian claims that they have taken about 4 blocks of the city.


Also of note, is the fact that of the 8,000 troops present at the parade, only about 500 of them are actually soldiers who have been deployed to Ukraine. It certainly seems, outwardly at least, that Russian assets are very busy, and that production has grinded down significantly. Clearly, this is enough of an issue that Russia has had to resort to private contractors, namely the notable Wagner group, a private military company operating in favor of the Russian government. 


Despite this, the head of the organization, Yevgeny Prgozhln, criticized not just the parade but the entirety of Russian military leadership, saying that “The Ukrainians are tearing up the flanks at Bakhmut, regrouping at Zaporozhye. And a counteroffensive is about to begin.” He is also on record saying that “Victory day is the day of our grandfathers”, and that “We haven’t earned that victory one millimeter”