The russians They are used to celebrating the New Year with spectacular celebrations. But this year, after ten months of fighting and military setbacks in Ukrainefew are in the mood to party.
SIGHT: “We are not traitors,” say Russian fighters enlisted in the Ukrainian army
Russia began its military offensive against the former Soviet republic on February 24 and has suffered several setbacks on the ground.
Rather than spend money on grandiose festivities, Nadejda Arkhipova, a Moscow resident, called for better equipping reservists mobilized in the fall, some of whom were sent to the front without the necessary equipment.
“First of all, our soldiers should not lack quality equipment,” Arkhipova, 40, told AFP.
Many share his point of view. The city of Moscow canceled the fireworks that are usually launched on December 31, following an online vote in which a majority of Muscovites spoke out against organizing large festivities.
And although the authorities illuminated the streets of the capital, covered with snow, to try to cheer up the atmosphere a bit, the portraits of soldiers in combat in Ukraine remind us that the reality is different.
In the emblematic Red Square, the Christmas booths were set up, as usual, around an ice rink. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has canceled his traditional year-end hockey game.
The Russian leader will not give his usual press conference either, but he will give his New Year’s message, which will initially be broadcast on December 31 at midnight.
– “New chapter” –
While the conflict in Ukraine shows no sign of ending, Irina Chapovalova, 51, who works at a day care center, is just waiting for peace to come. “A lot of people suffer,” she points out.
The way in which the arrival of the new year would be celebrated divided the authorities. Some officials wanted to organize celebrations to maintain a normal atmosphere. Others saw it as a luxury and an inappropriate gesture in the midst of conflict.
Although the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, canceled the large gatherings, he called on Muscovites to celebrate the New Year and recalled that the city had organized celebrations even during World War II.
Vladimir Azarochkin, a 22-year-old student who arrived from Siberia, was walking with his girlfriend in Gorki Park, in the center of the capital. The lights lift his spirits, he said.
“I hope that all the difficult moments are in the past and that a new chapter begins for each of us,” he added.
This year’s decorations include the symbols of the offensive in Ukraine, such as the letter “Z”, which can be seen on the walls of buildings or hanging on the roads.
Political decorations are not to everyone’s taste. In St. Petersburg, in the northwest, authorities had to remove an installation glorifying the conquest of the port of Mariupol after it was vandalized.
– Soldiers on TV –
Television channels were not left behind and were also forced to adapt to the new situation. In general, they usually put on extravagant shows for New Year’s Eve.
The public audiovisual group VGTRK promised viewers that they will be able to enjoy “a New Year’s atmosphere, despite the changes in our country and in the world.”
But this year, the New Year’s Eve show, Goluboy Ogonek (“Blue Light”), indicated that it would invite “heroes of Russia, back from the front lines”.
The broadcast has been broadcast since the 1960s, when Moscow was still part of the Soviet Union.
However, this year some of its most emblematic figures will not participate in the program, such as Maxim Galkin, an actor and presenter who left the country after condemning the campaign in Ukraine. His wife, the famous singer Alla Pugacheva, who denounced the conflict, also left.
Ten years ago, on the occasion of the arrival of 2013, the state channel Pervy Kanal invited a young Ukrainian actor to co-host its show. It was a certain Volodymyr Zelensky, now the President of Ukraine. Other times.
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