Putin promises a strong Russia on world stage

Putin promises a strong Russia on world stage

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in Moscow's Red Square with military generals at his side, said he would promote Russia's might on the world stage in a patriotic speech on Wednesday glorifying the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Two days after being sworn in for a six-year term that has drawn protests against his return to the Kremlin, Putin used the address to troops and war veterans at the annual military parade on Red Square to reinforce appeals for national unity.

Putin faces a battle to reassert himself after the biggest protests since he rose to power in 2000 and the detention of hundreds of protesters this week to keep a lid on dissent.

“Russia consistently follows a policy of strengthening global security and we have a great moral right to stand up determinedly for our positions because our country suffered the blow of Nazism,” Putin said on a podium flanked by military chiefs bristling with medals under the Kremlin's red walls.

He did not refer to any enemy other than evoking the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 at a great human cost, including millions of Soviet victims, at a parade in which goose-stepping troops, tanks and trucks carrying missiles filed past him. “Barbarians were plotting to destroy whole nations,” he said. “The inevitable happened - responsibility and common resolve prevailed over evil.”

Putin, 59, has often used tough statements on foreign policy to rally people and resorted to anti-American rhetoric in the run-up to the March 4 presidential election. Russia has already reasserted itself  on Syria and Iran.

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