August twenty-fourth is the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. This occasion, which has always been celebrated with huge pomp by the young country, was not forgotten by the Donetsk breakaway government either.
On Lenin Square they put on public display the remains of the captured Ukrainian military technology. And on the memorial celebration held at the feet of the Lenin statue, they paraded the captured soldiers of the Ukrainian army past, as well as a number of other prisoners in civilian clothes – possibly hostages and local citizens arrested by the Donetsk militia, according to Rustem Adagamov, who published the photos.
In machoistic Russian culture it is considered particularly humiliating that the captured soldiers were also accompanied by female militias. However, as the following video shows, the spectacular military escort could not prevent the spectators from throwing objects at the prisoners, or even slapping them in the face.
The ideological and choreographic model of the parade was obviously the one organized on 17 July 1944 in Moscow, the very first Soviet victory parade, in which the soldiers of the German army captured at Stalingrad were driven in rows of twenty along the main streets of the city. With the difference, that there, as witnesses recall it, aside from the slogans “Death to Hitler” and “Death to fascism”, there was very little aggression towards the prisoners. A selection of the archive photos of the 1944 parade was published last night without any further commentary by Ilya Varlamov.
The parade, organized almost exactly seventy years ago, was concluded with a convoy of sprinkler trucks following the route of the parade, and symbolically cleansing the Russian land “от гитлеровской нечисти”, of Hitler’s filth. As the video shows, the Donetsk organizers did not forget about this final symbolic act either.