Putin Peers over President's Shoulder at Victory Parade; INTERNATIONAL

Article excerpt

Missiles, tanks and heavy weaponry rolled through Moscow's Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade yesterday, reviving a tradition of the Soviet era and demonstrating Russia's military confidence.

Victory Day, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany, is Russia's most important secular holiday.

It honours the country's enormous Second World War sacrifices - nearly nine million Red Army soldiers are estimated to have died - and asserts the country's military strength.

Russia has nearly quadrupled defence spending in recent years, aiming to resuscitate the military forces that deteriorated in the post-Soviet period.

The display of more than 100 tanks, mobile missile units and armoured vehicles was aimed at underlining the military revival - but much of the heavy weaponry was only slightly modernised versions of equipment developed decades ago.

Although the display was significantly smaller than in Soviet-era parades, the return of the tradition has raised concerns Russia harbours aggressive ambitions. …