2022 Moscow rally

Political rally

55°42′56″N 37°33′13″E / 55.71556°N 37.55361°E / 55.71556; 37.55361Coordinates: 55°42′56″N 37°33′13″E / 55.71556°N 37.55361°E / 55.71556; 37.55361TypePolitical rally and concertOrganised byVladimir PutinParticipants200,000+ (according to police)
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The 2022 Moscow rally, officially known in Russia as "For a world without Nazism" (Russian: «Zа мир без нацизма»), was a political rally and concert at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 18 March 2022, which marked the eighth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. President Vladimir Putin spoke at the event, justifying the Russian invasion of Ukraine and praising Russian troops,[1] to a crowd of 200,000 people, per Moscow City Police.[2] Outlets including the BBC and the Moscow Times reported that state employees were transported to the venue, and other attendees were paid or forced to attend.[3]

Event

The arena and stage featured slogans reading "For a world without Nazism",[a] "For our president",[b] and "For Russia",[c] but featuring the Latin Z character in place of the usual Cyrillic З.[4] Some signs also featured Saint George's ribbon-styled Z's with the hashtag #СвоихНеБросаем,[5] meaning "we don't abandon our own".[6]

Luzhniki Stadium hosted the event

The rally's content, described by Agence France-Presse as "heavily anti-Western and filled with Soviet nostalgia," emphasized patriotism, heroism, and support for the military.[7] Polina Gagarina, who represented Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015, performed her cover of "Kukushka" from the 2015 film Battle for Sevastopol.[8] Russian band Lyube played patriotic songs about wartime,[9][10] Oleg Gazmanov performed the song "Born in the U.S.S.R.",[d][12][13] and Fyodor Tyutchev's May 1867 poem "Напрасный труд — нет, их не вразумишь..."[e][16] was read by Russian actor Vladimir Mashkov.[4] Other speakers at the event included RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, who said, "This is for our boys who are fighting scum right now";[17] Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who thanked "the guys who with weapons in their hands defend Russian citizens in the Donbas ... Half the world has united against us, but Russia is a strong country";[18] and Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova, who called Russia "a country and nation that safeguards peace and fights evil".[17][19] Many of the speakers wore Z-shaped Saint George's ribbons,[3] which also appeared on signs in the crowd.[17]

Numerous Russian Olympic athletes were featured during the rally, including several who had recently returned from the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The Russian national anthem was played while they were on stage, a reference to the anthem being banned at the previous three Olympics due to state-sponsored doping.[20] Athletes in attendance included cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov; figure skaters Nikita Katsalapov, Vladimir Morozov, Victoria Sinitsina, and Evgenia Tarasova; rhythmic gymnasts Dina Averina and Arina Averina; and swimmer Evgeny Rylov.[20] Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak, who was undergoing International Gymnastics Federation disciplinary proceedings for wearing a "Z" sticker at the 2022 Doha World Cup, wore an Olympic medal at the rally, though he had not competed in any Olympics.[21]

The rally marked Russian President Vladimir Putin's first public appearance since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.[2] In his speech, which he opened by quoting the Constitution of Russia, Putin congratulated the "people of Crimea and Sevastopol" and wished them a "happy anniversary" of the annexation of Crimea. He went on to discuss those areas' finances and infrastructure, claiming that instead of Ukraine's "leftover financing" provided, Russia "needed to drag Crimea out of that humiliating position". Putin further alleged a "genocide" by Ukraine against the people of Donbas, before quoting the Bible's "no greater love" passage from John 15. Finally, Putin noted that Fyodor Ushakov's birthday was 24 February, the same date that the invasion of Ukraine was launched in 2022.[22] Part of his televised speech on Russia-24 was interrupted by a technical problem.[23][24]

Reaction

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a video message released on 19 March, mentioned the rally:[25]

Many words were heard in Moscow today in connection with the anniversary of the seizure of Crimea. A big rally took place. And I want to pay attention to one detail. It is reported that a total of about 200,000 people were involved in the rally in the Russian capital. 100,000 on the streets, about 95,000 at the stadium. Approximately the same number of Russian troops were involved in the invasion of Ukraine. Just imagine 14,000 corpses and tens of thousands of wounded and maimed people at that stadium in Moscow. There are already so many Russian losses as a result of this invasion. This is the price of war. In a little more than three weeks. The war must end.[25]

Putin's remarks made references to Bible passages and Russian military history, which was seen as reflecting a broader pattern of the leader using religion and history to help form a Russian nationalist identity.[26] Conservative U.S. political commentator Sean Hannity, a supporter of former U.S. president Donald Trump, said that the rally appeared to be used by Putin for "channeling his inner Donald Trump," while the liberal HuffPost described the rally as "terrifying" and "ominous" and said that Putin was "in full dictator mode."[27][28] Putin also received criticism for wearing what appeared to be a US$13,000 Loro Piana parka.[3]

The athletes were criticized in media outside of Russia for their participation in the rally.[20][29][30][31] The Times described the athletes as "being paraded ... at the Luzhniki Stadium as the Russian president's warm-up act" at a "pro-war propaganda rally."[32] Photographs posted to social media by some athletes blurred the "Z" symbols they had worn, which was interpreted as recognition of the war's lack of popularity amongst younger Russians.[29] While some analysts believed athletes who wore the symbol could have been forced to participate, Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins contended that for the figure skaters in particular, "there's no extricating individual Russian skaters from [their participation], no matter how blameless some of them may be or how subject to coercion or censorship."[33][34]

Rylov's appearance resulted in a FINA investigation on the grounds of "bringing aquatic sports into disrepute" and the loss of his sponsorship contract with Speedo, which said it would donate the remainder of his funding to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.[35][32] The investigation resulted in Rylov receiving a personal nine-month ban from all FINA competitions and activities effective 20 April 2022, making his ban 20 days longer than the general ban on Russian and Belarusian swimmers through the end of 2022.[33][36] Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov, and Russian sports minister Oleg Matytsin each denounced the ban, calling it discriminatory, politicized, and "contrary to the ideas of sport."[37]

Ukrainian athletes directly criticized Russian athletes for their participation. Ukrainian gymnast and Olympic medallist Oleg Vernyayev criticized Kuliak for attending and for wearing an Olympic medal he had not earned himself.[21] Ukrainian world-record swimmer Andriy Govorov described seeing his friend Rylov attending the rally and wearing a "Z" symbol as "heartbreaking."[30] Ukrainian ice dancers Oleksandra Nazarova and Maksym Nikitin criticized the figure skaters for their participation, saying that "Not so long ago we supported them in this difficult Olympic season, now they support the war against us and our country."[31][34]

The Latvian government banned performers who participated in the rally from entering the country.[38]

Historian Niall Ferguson described the rally as "fascistic".[39]

See also

  • flagRussia portal
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Notes

  1. ^ "Zа мир без нацизма"; usually written "За мир без нацизма".
  2. ^ "Zа Президента"; usually written "За Президента".
  3. ^ "Zа Россию"; usually written "За Россию".
  4. ^ The opening of the song reads: "The Ukraine and the Crimea, Belarus and Moldova, this is my country! ... Kazakhstan and the Caucasus, and the Baltics too."[11]
  5. ^ Напрасный труд — нет, их не вразумишь,—
    Чем либеральней, тем они пошлее,
    Цивилизация — для них фетиш,
    Но недоступна им ее идея.

    Как перед ней ни гнитесь, господа,
    Вам не снискать признанья от Европы:
    В ее глазах вы будете всегда
    Не слуги просвещенья, а холопы.[14]

    It's no use — you will not understand them —
    The more liberal the more base and cruel.
    Civilization for them is a fetish,
    But inaccessible to them is its ideal.

    Though you may bow before it, citizens,
    You will never win Europe's recognition:
    In its eyes you will always be not servants
    Of Enlightenment but slaves without rights.[15]

References

  1. ^ "Putin holds rally in Moscow, praises Russian troops as Ukraine fights back invasion". CBC News. 18 March 2022. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b Nechepurenko, Ivan (18 March 2022). "Putin makes his first public appearance since the invasion of Ukraine". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Putin Marks Crimea Anniversary, Defends 'Special Operation' in Ukraine in Stadium Rally". The Moscow Times. 18 March 2022. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Putin Tells Mass Rally That Russia Will Prevail in Ukraine". VOA News. Reuters. 18 March 2022. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  5. ^ Patel-Carstairs, Sunita (19 March 2022). "Putin hails 'special operation' in Ukraine at massive celebration party for 'reunification' of Crimea". Sky News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  6. ^ MacFarquhar, Nick (7 March 2022). "The letter 'Z' has become a symbol for Russians who support the invasion of Ukraine". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  7. ^ Agence France Presse (18 March 2022). "Moscow marks Crimea annexation with patriotic rally". France24. Paris, France. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  8. ^ Chibowska, Karolina (19 March 2022). "Polina Gagarina w ogniu krytyki. Po tym, jak zaśpiewała dla Putina, nie zostawiono na niej suchej nitki" (in Polish). Onet Kobieta. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Putin tries to rally Russia behind invasion but TV glitch hinders address". The Irish Times. Reuters. 18 March 2022. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  10. ^ John, Tara; Pavlova, Uliana; Graham-Yooll, Anastasia (18 March 2022). "Putin celebrates anniversary of Crimea annexation at stadium rally amid Russia's onslaught of Ukraine". CNN.com. CNN. Archived from the original on 8 April 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  11. ^ Pomerantsev, Peter (19 December 2013). "Born in the USSR". London Review of Books. Archived from the original on 20 March 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  12. ^ Reimann, Nicholas. "Putin Holds Massive Pro-War Rally In Moscow". Forbes. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  13. ^ Anna, Cara (18 March 2022). "Putin appears at big rally as troops press attack in Ukraine". ABC News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Напрасный труд — нет, их не вразумишь..." Русская поэзия. Monster. Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  15. ^ Cigale, Alex. "Anthology of Russian Minimalist and Miniature Poems; Part I, The Silver Age". Off Course: A Literary Journey. Archived from the original on 27 February 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  16. ^ Tuytchev, Fyodor (1996). Избранное (in Russian). Rostov-on-Don: Феникс. ISBN 5-85880-081-5.
  17. ^ a b c AFP (18 March 2022). "Moscow marks Crimea annexation with patriotic rally". France24. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  18. ^ "Putin praises unity at Moscow rally to support Ukraine invasion". Le Prensa Latina. 18 March 2022. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  19. ^ Vernon, Will (18 March 2022). "Putin hails Crimea annexation and war with lessons on heroism". BBC News. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  20. ^ a b c McCarriston, Shanna (23 March 2022). "Russian Olympic athletes facing backlash after attending rally to support Vladimir Putin". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on 31 March 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  21. ^ a b Bondar, Gregory (23 March 2022). "Олімпійський чемпіон Верняєв висміяв спортсмена з РФ, який вийшов на мітинг на підтримку війни з чужою медаллю". The UNIAN. Kyiv, Ukraine. Archived from the original on 14 April 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Concert marking the anniversary of Crimea's reunification with Russia". Kremlin. 18 March 2022. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  23. ^ "Putin vows Russia will prevail in Ukraine but glitch hinders TV". Reuters. 18 March 2022. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  24. ^ Vasilyeva, Nataliya (18 March 2022). "Russian TV cuts off Vladimir Putin mid-speech during major Moscow rally". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  25. ^ a b Zelenskyy, Volodymyr (19 March 2022). "Meaningful talks on peace and security for Ukraine are the only chance for Russia to reduce the damage from its own mistakes". President of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  26. ^ Cara, Anna (18 March 2022). "Putin praises troops at Moscow rally as Russia continues attack in Ukraine". PBS. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on 8 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  27. ^ Pengelly, Martin (19 March 2022). "Putin 'channeling his inner Trump' at Moscow rally, says Sean Hannity". The Guardian. London, United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  28. ^ Nicholson, Kate (18 March 2022). "Putin In Full Dictator Mode During Terrifying Rally In Moscow". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 8 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  29. ^ a b Pavitt, Michael (20 March 2022). "Kuliak set to face one-year ban over "Z" symbol podium display". Inside the Games. London, United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 10 April 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  30. ^ a b Keith, Braden (19 March 2022). "Russian Olympic Swimmer Rylov Appears At Large Pro-War Rally In Moscow". SwimSwam. Austin, Texas. Archived from the original on 9 April 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  31. ^ a b "Russian Olympians face backlash after Vladimir Putin rally". ABC News. 23 March 2022. Archived from the original on 31 March 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  32. ^ a b Lord, Craig (23 March 2022). "Russian Olympic champion Evgeny Rylov faces ban after appearance at Putin rally". The Times. London, United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 2 April 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  33. ^ a b "Russian Olympic gold medallist banned for supporting Ukraine invasion". news.com.au. Sydney, Australia. 22 April 2022. Archived from the original on 23 April 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  34. ^ a b Jenkins, Sally (24 March 2022). "Russians make figure skating better, but Putin has turned the sport into a battleground". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on 24 March 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  35. ^ "Russian Olympians face backlash after attending Vladimir Putin rally". ESPN. Bristol, Connecticut. 23 March 2022. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  36. ^ Martin, Will (22 April 2022). "Russian Olympic winner who claimed to be swimming's biggest star is banned from the sport for attending pro-war rally". Yahoo! Sports. New York, New York. Archived from the original on 22 April 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  37. ^ "FINA suspends Olympic champion Rylov for nine months over Putin rally". Reuters. London, United Kingdom. 22 April 2022. Archived from the original on 22 April 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  38. ^ "25 Russian citizens blacklisted in Latvia for war propaganda". Baltic News Network. LETA. 24 March 2022. Archived from the original on 9 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  39. ^ Ferguson, Niall (22 March 2022). "Putin Misunderstands History. So, Unfortunately, Does the U.S." Bloomberg. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
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