Russian state media reported on April 18 that May 9 celebrations to commemorate the Soviet Union's victory against Nazi Germany will not include the "Immortal Regiment" march this year.
As cited by state news agency TASS, Russian State Duma member Elena Tsunaeva explained the decision as one of "national unity", given that several border regions in Russia as well as occupied Crimea already canceled the march because of security concerns.
The Immortal Regiment march is typically a mass event throughout Russia, where processions of people carry photos of their relatives who fought in or were killed during World War II. The organizers of the movement, who started it in 2011, have since complained that Russian officials hijacked it for their own political gains.
Officials are encouraging people to instead put photos of their relatives who were veterans of World War II "on social media, clothes, cars, or the website of the movement."
This will be the second May 9 celebration to take place since Russia launched its all-out war against Ukraine.
When Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had invaded Ukraine, it was seen widely as the abandoning of the Soviet Union's legacy – belonging not only to Russian soldiers but Ukrainians and other nations as well – in the victory against Nazi Germany.
Over the course of the full-scale war, the Russian military has committed a multitude of war crimes, including the beheadings of Ukrainian soldiers and unprecedented damage to Ukraine's energy infrastructure during mass missile and drone strikes.
Since Feb. 24, 2022, Ukraine's Prosecutor General has recorded a total of 80,840 war crimes and crimes of aggression committed by Russian forces on Ukrainian territory. Two former mercenaries of Russia's state-backed Wagner Group confessed on April 17 to shooting civilians in Bakhmut, including children.