Every year before May 9, Victory Day, a parade rehearsal is held in Moscow. Each year, a few weeks before the holiday, rehearsals are held in the center of the city. The rehearsals are held in the evening with an advance warning for those traveling to the downtown.
Every year (or rather, last four or five years) traditional representatives of the so-called "creative class" have been whining and moaning about it. They complain that they are terribly inconvenienced by these rehearsals because they as taxpayers do not want their money wasted on useless parades. They do not want to sit in traffic jams and consider proposed alternative to use public transit unacceptable.
Before this year's parade, some commentators have crossed all limits. For example, the deputy editor of Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper Eider Muzhdabaev wrote on Facebook that on Thursday, April 25, the capital of Russia was in a dead traffic jam deliberately and cynically imposed on the city residents. He continued that media called it a rehearsal for the Victory Parade, but instead it should be called a deliberate killing of innocent people no better than the Holocaust, albeit on a smaller scale.
This was followed by a discussion of the emergency vehicles unable to reach dying patients. In conclusion, Muzhdabaev called it fascism, "Ritual killings for Victory Day."
An actor Vladimir Bagramov wrote that "Patriots" should burn along with their parades.
Radio station "Echo of Moscow" published these comments on the main page of its website in an attempt to attract attention.
Such insane commentary occurs only before May 9. Before the New Year, for example, traffic jams in the Russian cities are often much worse.
Of course, the editor of "MK" provided no data on the number of deaths caused by the parade rehearsal. A correspondent of Pravda.Ru was told by a representative of the Department of Health in Moscow that "Fortunately, no one died" because of traffic jams caused by the rehearsals. "Even if there is military equipment on the road and an emergency vehicle needs to transport a patient in a serious condition, it will be given way. If a person is sick and an emergency cannot get through because of traffic jams, another team is sent to the patient," said the representative of the Moscow Health Department.
What do Russian public figures and politicians think about it? Below are opinions of Alla Gerber, Ludmila Alexeeva and Boris Nemtsov.
Ludmila Alexeeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group:
"I also think that the parades are a fun activity for our federal authorities who appear to have not been playing war enough as children. No normal country celebrates a holiday with a parade, at best it is a march of workers, people and citizens. We have a parade, you see ... It is imperative that equipment moves and soldiers march. This is a torture for those who participate in parades, they are tormented by completely unnecessary rehearsals, and citizens are tortured with traffic jams.
When the anniversary of the beating of citizens was scheduled for May 6th (the opposition rally on Bolotnaya Square - Ed.), then traffic jams were cited, and we were told that a rally was allowed, but not a march.
Here for many days soldiers and citizens, Muscovites, can be tortured for days so the leadership could amuse themselves for a couple of hours, bragging about their power and might. It's disgusting, stupid. This is a sign of an authoritarian regime and a country striving for militarization."
Alla Gerber All, president of the "Holocaust" movement:
"I think they don't think about anything and can't think in principle. Comparing Moscow traffic with the Holocaust is a crime. The Holocaust is a unique, scary phenomenon related only to the destruction of Jews during the Second World War and nothing else. Comparing it with the Holocaust is a simple mockery of the Holocaust, and all of us. I think we should still think before speaking.
Another thing, of course, is the parade rehearsal and a chaos that emerges in the city where one cannot move, people get lost, those driving are in a deadlock, and the entire life of the city changes, and it is very hard. It is not life threatening - it's nonsense, but it's hard, people find it uncomfortable.
As for the Victory Day parade, I think that for many people it is an important day of remembrance of those who went to war, who did not come from the war, who won the war, those who survived the war. In the end, we are all alive because there was a victory. We would not have been alive if it were not for this victory. This is a grateful remembrance for all who gave us life, in fact we were born from this victory, we are its children, everyone who is now walking on this earth.
I am not against the Parade, I cannot say that I am necessarily pro parade, I'm just not a big fan of loud equipment, but it is purely my feelings.
For example, I went to see the parade with my granddaughter two years in a row, and it was very interesting, she perceived it as a holiday. All the people, the spectators who come to the parade were in a very good mood, there was a feeling of unity, solidarity and unification. This, incidentally, is a very nice atmosphere, rare in our country. Because in my opinion it is one day, the only date that we all share, regardless of our beliefs, attitudes, moods, etc. Because it's true, it's honest. People unite around this truth.
I think referring to this as the Holocaust is just a crime and a surprising lack of understanding what is the Holocaust and unawareness of the tragedy of the Holocaust itself. Transferring the word to the inconvenience of residents caused by the parade rehearsal, inconvenient, uncomfortable life at this point is just amazing to me. This is not just a fantasy, it is a gross error, and a journalist cannot afford to do this."
Boris Nemtsov, an opposition activist:
"I believe that there are sacred days we cannot forget, no matter how many veterans are still alive. I think it's probably the only date that unites us all, which we are all proud of. This is the first point.
"The second point, I think that the rehearsals can be carried out beyond the Red Square. I believe that the training of the people who organize these parades is such that they can make the layout of the Red Square outside of Moscow. This would not complicate people's life, and it's time to do it so the roads are not covered with tanks, and the people do not get angry.
"I do not understand why there is still no appropriate test site, although there are plenty of military units around Moscow where a life-size mock-up of the Red Square can be built.
"Yesterday there were several reasons for the perfect storm on the roads. The first one is a "direct line" with Putin. I just saw this outrage with packed Arbat and the entire city center paralyzed as the "Great Helmsman" was driven after fooling people for four hours. The second one is a movement of military equipment. I think we'll deal with the first issue when we send him to retire, since he is in the retirement age. And the second one can be solved now. Indeed, we have the level of organization in the society where it is not necessary to drive machinery through Moscow.
"Therefore, I believe that parades should be conducted, it is our duty to explain it to our children. But the archaic history of 40 years ago, when tanks had to reach the center of Moscow, in my opinion is outdated.
"But there is an advance warning about the rehearsals and they have been conducted for a few years."
"I repeat, I believe that these rehearsals should be conducted elsewhere. This idiocy that they are not able to even hold a rehearsal elsewhere is certainly pathetic."
After a trip to Russia, Polish writer Maya Wolny concluded that the West did not even have a close idea of how things really were in the Russian Federation.