Russia is fast taking the place of the Soviet Union when it rivaled the United States, during the time when Brezhnev and earlier Stalin were in power. Vladimir Putin who sees himself as a logical successor to Stalin ordered an unprecedented show of naval might across five time zones on the russian navy Day celebration on Sunday, July 31st, 2017. According to Al Jazeera News, during the days of the Soviet Union the Navy Day was celebrated on July 24th every year, but in 1980 it was changed to the last Sunday of the month of July.

Celebrations across many time-zones

An ominous feature of the military celebrations at St. Petersburg, the headquarters of the Baltic fleet, was the presence of two Chinese warships including a guided missile destroyer, the latest and most modern ship in the Chinese inventory.

The parade and celebrations kicked off from the eastern port of Vladivostok; the location of the Russian Far East fleet. It was followed by celebrations at the Crimean port of Sevastopol in the Black Sea which has been annexed by Russia, the Northern fleet HQ at Severomorsk, the Russian base in Syria and also with the main event at St Petersburg.

America must be wary

The Chinese conducted a military parade on the same day with President Xi reviewing the parade in military fatigues; a reminder that America faces global military competition.

The main event of the day was conducted at St. Petersburg, where Russian President Vladimir Putin took the salute. The parade featured nearly 50 combat ships and submarines, and 40 fighters. More than 5,000 sailors took part in the celebrations. Putin in his speech reflected heavily on Russian Naval power from the time of Peter the Great.

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The parade showcased several fighters like the Su-33 and MiG-29K in an aerial display of Russian power. Putin announced the addition of 30 new vessels to the Russian fleet in the coming year.

Russian navy

Along with President Vladimir Putin, the Defense Minister and the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy Adm. Vladimir Korolev reviewed the parade in St. Petersburg. Despite all this, a major lacuna was the presence of only one aircraft carrier, the Kuznetsov, in the celebrations. Without aircraft carriers, the reach of the Russian navy is severely restricted. Never the less, the US has to take note that Russian naval power dominates the European theater and the Black Sea with a significant presence in the Eastern Pacific.