Reviving yet another iconic image from Soviet days, Russia's military announced plans to stage a parade of ballistic missiles, tanks and platoons of soldiers this May through the Kremlin's Red Square.
The display of military hardware, the first of its kind since 1990, will be held May 9, the day Russians mark the victory over Germany in World War II, and could coincide with the inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev, close aide to outgoing President Vladimir Putin, as Russia's new leader.
According to Russia's Interfax news agency, the May 9 parade lineup will include the newest version of the Topol-M SS-27 intercontinental ballistic missile, armored personnel carriers, tanks, and 6,000 troops decked out in a newly designed uniform.
"You can't teach an old imperial bear new tricks," said Ariel Cohen, a Russian specialist at the Heritage Foundation. "The current regime's craving for international prestige is as high as the insecurity of its rulers."
Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian military analyst for the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, said the revived display is one of a number of recent symbolic moves by the country's military. They include the resumption of strategic bomber patrol flights over the Atlantic and Pacific in August and plans for major naval exercises in the Mediterranean for the first time since 1991.
Mr. Felgenhauer noted that the traditional route for the May parade must now be altered in part because of the construction of a new shopping mall.
"One can only hope that ... no ancient building will collapse as tanks and ICBMs roll into central Moscow to serve the vanity of Russia's leaders," he said.