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Victory Day 2006 being celebrated in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek (RFE/RL)
May 9, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin used the anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory in World War II to warn that neo-Nazis and other nationalist extremists cannot be tolerated in Russia.
In a brief speech at the start of a military parade in Moscow, Putin said the defeat of fascism in World War II must be a lesson that "those who are trying again to raise the defeated banners of Nazism, who sow ethnic strife, extremism, and xenophobia, are leading the world to a dead end, to senseless bloodshed and cruelty. For this reason, the defeat of fascism must be a lesson and a warning about the inevitability of vengeance."
Some 6,000 troops marched in Moscow today to mark the 61st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. Putin and other top Russian officials and dignitaries, including former President Boris Yeltsin, watched the parade.
In the restive southern republic of Chechnya, official events today marked the second anniversary of the assassination of Moscow-backed President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, who was killed during a Victory Day celebration in 2004.
The anniversary today was marked also in other former Soviet republics with veterans' marches and rallies and the laying of wreaths.
(compiled from agency reports)