The New York TimesThe New York Times

'Nothing has really changed': In Moscow, the fighting Is a world away

By Valerie Hopkins

06 Sep 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

A New York Times reporter returns to Moscow to find daily life has changed little despite the war—and that’s just how Putin wants it as he seeks to insulate Russians from the effects of the invasion.

MOSCOW — On a recent evening in Red Square, a corps of elite paratroopers dressed in camouflage performed a battle-like dance with pyrotechnics. An Egyptian performer dressed as a pharaoh rode back and forth in a chariot wielding an ankh, the ancient Egyptian symbol of life, as a band played “Katyusha,” a Soviet-era patriotic war song.

Nataliya Nikonova, 44, was one of thousands of spectators cheering from the bleachers at a festival celebrating the militaries of Russia and friendly nations including Belarus, India and Venezuela.

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