No rain on Boris's parade

VE Day in Russia/ signs of a 'Cold Peace'

SEVEN Antonov-26 planes are standing on alert at Bykovo Airport outside Moscow ready to serve the Kremlin in a critical mission - making sure nothing, not even the heavens, spoils President Boris Yeltsin's military parades.

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz