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Putin's Celebration of Soviet-Era Success Marred by Embarrassing Soviet-Style Failure

(YouTube video screenshot @TheDeadDistrict)

Vladimir Putin aims to bring glory to Russia, and to that end, he celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II with parades and fireworks in 28 Russian cities, along with celebrations on Russian military bases in Syria and Tajikistan. Yet the central parade in Moscow’s Red Square — complete with 13,000 military personnel — experienced an embarrassing failure reminiscent of the old days in the Soviet Union.

As Just the News reported, Russia’s newest “unstoppable” military vehicle dramatically caught fire during the parade, the second time in five years that Russian tanks have broken down mid-parade.

The newest version of the VPK-7829 Bumerang, celebrated for its swimming ability, became engulfed in dense smoke as it crossed Red Square. As Just the News reported, “the oily dark smoke streamed from the front, sides, and top hatch, and eventually enveloped the Bumerang.” What a sight to behold.

Russia experienced a similar tank parade failure in 2015, when the T-14 Armata tank — billed as “the world’s first post-war, third-generation tank” — broke down during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Moscow. The military resorted to using another vehicle to tow the tank with ropes.

Yet Russia’s tank failures date back far before the 21st century. The Soviet Union’s groundbreaking T-80 tank, which debuted in 1976, came equipped with a gas turbine engine. When soldiers operated the tank during the First Chechen War (1994-1996), however, it experienced an embarrassing weakness. When the side armor of the tank got hit, unused ammunition in the tank’s autoloader exploded and destroyed the entire machine. The Minister of Defense agreed never to order the tanks again.

Russia has taken great strides since Soviet days, but it seems unable to prevent embarrassing failures like the T-14 Armata and the VPK-7829 Bumerang. Perhaps the scourge of communism in that country’s history is still holding back its technological progress.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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