Chinese show great empathy to Russia over WWII history while West turns hostile to Moscow

As Russia held a military parade to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Victory over Nazi Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War on Moscow’s Red Square on Sunday, about 400 people took part in the “Immortal Regiment” march in Beijing to celebrate Victory in Europe in World War II on the same day.

When some Western countries led by the US are showing hostility toward Russia and trying to downplay the Soviet Union’s contribution to the Allied victory or even stigmatize Russia by comparing the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany, Chinese are showing an entirely different attitude to the former Soviet Union’s contribution during the war.

Apart from the high-level mutual trust and strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow, Chinese people have shown enthusiasm by watching the livestream of the Russian Victory Day military parade every year. On Sunday, hashtags about the “Russian V-Day military parade 2021” or the “76th anniversary of Russia’s victory in Great Patriotic War” have received more than 100 million views. Chinese national television broadcast the parade.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin, war veterans and guests watched the parade from the central viewing stand on Red Square. “The war brought about so many unbearable ordeals, grief and tears that this cannot be forgotten. And there is no forgiveness and excuse for those who are again nurturing aggressive plans,” Putin said from the stand.

In Beijing, the “Immortal Regiment” event attracted great attention from Russians and local Chinese because it is a sign of appreciation for their ancestors who gave their lives to achieve victory over fascism and militarism, and it is also a symbol of the unwavering friendship between Russia and China, Dmitrii Lukiantsev, minister counselor of the Russian Embassy in China, told the Global Times at the ceremony on Sunday.

“We [China and Russia] are brothers, the fact that the Chinese soldiers fought alongside Soviet soldiers in the Great Patriotic War, the war against the Japanese occupation in China shows that we have common interests, common feelings, common goals. We are together,” he said.

Liu Yunhong, daughter of the first commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Liu Yalou, told the Global Times that “We should not forget the days when we were bullied by imperialists, we need to remember how hard peace is to come by.”

From 1939 to 1941, Liu senior was sent to study in Frunze Military Academy in Moscow, and was commissioned as a major in the Soviet Red Army. He fought many hard battles including the Battle of Stalingrad.

“We hope that this firm, blood-bought friendship between Russia and China will be passed on forever,” Ren Gongwei, whose grandfather Ren Fuchen was a commander of a Chinese regiment of the Soviet Red Army during the Russian Civil War, told the Global Times.

This is the third time Ren Gongwei has taken part in the march. This year he joined with his fellow members of the “Soviet Eagles” tracing group, which was dedicated to finding the burial sites of Soviet Air Force volunteers who supported the War against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) in China.

“There is a monument to my grandfather in the Ural region of Russia. And we now hope that Soviet soldiers will be widely remembered more in China as well,” Ren said.

The traditional friendship between China and Russia was established during the war when the two nations fought side by side to resist the fascism of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, and the ties have been inherited generation by generation until today, despite some frictions or conflicts that occurred in the past, said Chinese analysts.

Some Western countries are trying to manipulate history to serve their political and strategic interests today, to downplay or distort the contributions that Russia or China made during World War II, and this is truly harmful and disgraceful to people who died in the war and to the justice and fairness of the current international order, Yang Jin, an expert at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

“As two major victors in World War II, China and Russia have never stigmatized or downplayed the contribution made by the US and the UK during the war, but we will not allow anyone to distort or obliterate the real history. China and Russia will stand together to safeguard the common memory and facts of the war,” Yang noted.

Chinese and Russians do not just share common ground on World War II history, but also on many international hot spot issues at present. Chinese analysts said Chinese people share similar feelings as Russians do on the West, as they are both receiving extreme hostility and bias from the West. When they see Russians showing their strength and being tough in resisting Western aggression or US hegemony, many people, especially the youth, will be supportive, Chinese experts said.

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