Russian strongman Vladimir Putin railed against American “exceptionalism” and “moral degradation” on Monday during the country’s annual “Victory Day” parade, celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany that Moscow claims for itself. The Putin regime has for years denied any significant American contributions to ending World War II – going as far as to declare the legendary D-Day landing of American troops at Normandy “not a game-changer” – instead giving all the credit for the fall of Adolf Hitler to the communist Soviet Union under mass murderer Joseph Stalin. Russia marks its contributions to World War II on May 9 with an annual military parade and remarks from Putin. This year, the leader used his remarks to justify the ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine, calling it “the only correct choice” and accusing anti-Russian forces in the country of being “Nazis.” Putin did not go as far as he did in remarks immediately before launching the invasion in February in denying Ukraine’s right to sovereignty, focusing instead on calling the occupied regions of Ukraine Russia’s “historic lands” and accusing the United States of threatening Russia.
The official English-language transcript of Putin’s remarks features little mention of Nazi Germany, focusing instead on the primary power responsible for its defeat, the United States. “The United States began claiming their exceptionalism, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, thus denigrating not just the entire world but also their satellites, who have to pretend not to see anything, and to obediently put up with it,” Putin asserted. “But we are a different country. Russia has a different character. We will never give up our love for our Motherland, our faith and traditional values, our ancestors’ customs and respect for all peoples and cultures.” “Meanwhile, the West seems to be set to cancel these millennia-old values. Such moral degradation underlies the cynical falsifications of World War II history, escalating Russophobia, praising traitors, mocking their victims’ memory and crossing out the courage of those who won the Victory through suffering,” Putin continued. Putin also addressed the ongoing war in Ukraine, again blaming America and “the West” generally for the hostilities.