No rain on Boris's parade
VE Day in Russia/ signs of a 'Cold Peace'
Sunday 07 May 1995
So far, says Anatoli Yakovlev of the Federal Service for Hyrdo-Meteorological and Environmental Monitoring, the prognosis for Victory Day looks good. But Mr Yakovlev - whose last big commission was to clear the skies around Chernobyl - has a stern warning for any dark clouds that might stray towards Red Square next week: they will be promptly blasted from the air with a barrage of dry ice and chemicals.
Controlling the weather, though, could be the least of the Kremlin's worries as it prepares to commemorate the defeat of Hitler's Germany, at a cost to the Soviet Union of 27 million lives.
Less amenable are the clouds of war in Chechnya, the chill of what Mr Yeltsin warns could be a Cold Peace and the sensibilities of western leaders invited for celebrations that will include the biggest show of military aircraft in Moscow for four decades and a massive display of tanks, missiles, rocket launchers and other machinery of war.
Military flypasts were an indispensable feature under Stalin, whose second son, Vasily, a debauched alcoholic, enjoyed a meteoric rise in the Soviet Air Force until he botched plans for one such display of airpower in 1952 and nearly crashed planes onto the Kremlin. The flypast fell out of favour after Stalin's death. The last one was in 1954.
The revival of martial traditions has stirred unease among western leaders. Underscoring the decline in the east-west partnership will be a prickly two-day summit meeting between Mr Yeltsin and President Bill Clinton. They disagree on a host of issues, from the eastwards expansion of Nato and fighting in former Yugoslavia to Russia's campaign in Chechnya and its contract to sell nuclear technology to Iran.
After months of haggling over protocol for festivities in Moscow on Tuesday, a meticulously crafted compromise is showing signs of unravelling. To avoid embarrassing those wary of being photographed reviewing Russia's arsenal while the same army blasts away at villages in Chechnya, a parade of World War Two veterans in Red Square on Tuesday morning will be free of military hardware. Lethal weapons will be on display at a second parade later in the day at Proklonnaya Hill a few miles away.
But Franois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl have now announced they will visit Moscow but skip all parades; John Major will be in Red Square but will then avoid the full-blown military jamboree. Of 53 foreign leaders due in Moscow, 18 will attend both parades - many from countries less squeamish about domestic bloodshed: China, former Yugoslavia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Tajikistan.
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...
£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital publishing solution...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: NON-CONTENTIOUS (0-2 PQE) - A rare opportunity...