[Ed. – First time since the Soviet era! Join the retro fun!]
Russia staged a huge May Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square for the first time since the Soviet era on Thursday, with workers holding banners proclaiming support for President Vladimir Putin after the seizure of territory from neighboring Ukraine.
Thousands of trade unionists marched with Russian flags and flags of Putin’s ruling United Russia party onto the giant square beneath the Kremlin walls, past the red granite mausoleum of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin.
Many banners displayed traditional slogans for the annual workers’ holiday, like: “Peace, Labour, May”. But others were more directly political, alluding to the crisis in neighboring former Soviet republic Ukraine, where Russian troops seized and annexed the Crimea peninsula in March, precipitating the biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War.
“I am proud of my country,” read one. “Putin is right,” said another.
Unlike Kremlin leaders in Soviet times, Putin did not personally preside at the parade from atop the mausoleum. But he carried out another Soviet-era tradition by awarding “Hero of Labour” medals to five workers at a ceremony in the Kremlin. He revived the Stalin-era award a year ago.