Read the original text at Gazeta Wyborcza.
Only two leaders of the foreign states - Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vučić and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu - together with Putin watched the parade on Red Square in honor of the 73rd anniversary of the victory over the Third Reich.
It must be admitted that the situation with foreign guests ready to honor Moscow celebrations today is fragile. Monday's inauguration that marked the fourth presidential term of Putin has been attended only by Gerhard Schroeder (he was honored with the president’s handshake), former German chancellor, current Gazprom's official, who receives a reward enough for coming to Moscow at a word.
Even in 2005, the Moscow parade was visited by so many guests that the President of Poland was seated in the fourth row. The crowd was also huge at another round anniversary, five years later. Yesterday's absence of important politicians on the parade proves how deep the isolation of Russia is.
But Netanyahu came. There is a very interesting game between Moscow and Jerusalem. Both capitals are brought together by something, for example, which brings Poles apart from Russia – historical politics, and specifically attitude to the WW2.
Israel does not destroy the monuments to the Red Army soldiers, but, on the contrary, new ones are erected, and "Immortal Regiment" marches are arranged, people come out with portraits of their loved ones who fought with Hitler in the ranks of the Red Army. There are many veterans among the million emigrants from the former Soviet Union. Perhaps, there are even more of them than in Russia itself, since the average life expectancy of an Israeli is 78 years (in Russia, it is 13 years less). It is not surprising that May 9 it was declared a national holiday this year.
Israel needs such a day: it recalls that during the war the Jews did not only submit obediently to the slaughter but also fought with weapons in their hands. Russia skillfully uses this discourse. In recent weeks, Russian media have written a lot about the anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, and the film "Sobibor" also appeared on the screens. The film tells about the rebellion of prisoners of the concentration camp, who, under the leadership of the captured Red Army Jews, killed the guards and broke free. Moscow said that during the war, 500 thousand Jews served in the Red Army, 200 thousand were killed, and 157 were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. As the Russians themselves note, in order to receive the Hero's Star, a Jewish soldier had to perform some unusual feat.
So the historical policy brought the two peoples closer together and allowed to smooth out the existing contradictions. Russia received a new important comrade in arms. Recently, it has been only losing its allies. It has already become a tradition that Putin does not congratulate the leaders of Georgia and Ukraine on the Victory Day, although the peoples of these countries fought bravely in the Red Army. For decades, the symbol of victory over Germany was Georgia's Meliton Kantaria, who along with the Russian Mikhail Egorov hoisted a red banner on the roof of the Reichstag building.
An attempt to weaken the alliance between Moscow and Tehran
However, Netanyahu appeared in Moscow not only to admire the tanks: first, he came to discuss the situation in Syria, where the Israeli aviation regularly strikes at the fighters of the Hezbollah movement and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, fighting on the side President Assad, who enjoys the support of Russia. Russian and Israeli forces can clash at any moment, so Israel wants to clarify the rules of the game in an increasingly confusing situation and get from Moscow something like a license to shoot those, whom Israeli politicians consider a threat to their country. Such negotiations are facilitated by rapprochement on the ground of history.