Western boycott of the 70th anniversary Victory Parade in Moscow
Prof Geoffrey Roberts is critical of the western boycott of the 70th anniversary Victory Parade in Moscow. Read his letter in the Financial Times (06 May 2015)
Your editorial on the Soviet role in the defeat of Nazism “An anniversary message from the west to Russia” (May 4) is very welcome. The Second World War was far more than a geopolitical contest. It was a struggle for the future of Europe, and European civilisation was saved from Hitler and Nazi barbarism by the colossal sacrifices of the Soviet people and the Red Army.
Your editorial characterises as regrettable but inevitable the absence of western leaders from Moscow’s 70th anniversary Victory Day celebrations given the context of the Ukrainian crisis. But the boycott will achieve nothing positive. It will serve simply to strengthen Putin’s narrative that Russia is a victim of western powers who refuse to acknowledge their debt to the Russian people and celebrate the common victory over Nazism.
The intent to snub Putin through a boycott will be read by many in Russia as evidence of the west’s willingness to play propaganda games with a sacred anniversary, reducing the fine sentiments expressed in your editorial to little more than weasel words.
Professor Geoffrey Roberts
School of History
University College Cork