World News

Rubber-soled tanks for Russia Red Square parade

A worker repairs the cobble stone surface of the Red Square in front of the Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow April 9, 2008. REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian tanks will be fitted with rubber pads to protect the cobble stones on Red Square when they take part in the Victory Day parade for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Tanks and mobile rockets rumbling past the Kremlin were a feature of the parades on May 9 in Soviet times. Post-Communist Russia slimmed down the parade to troops and light vehicles.

This year, more than 110 tanks, missiles and artillery pieces will join the parade, along with 32 aircraft. The decision to revive the tradition is regarded by some observers as a sign the Kremlin is flexing its military muscles.

The pads will be fitted over the tanks’ metal tracks.

UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural arm, has listed the Kremlin and Red Square as a world heritage site since 1990.

The tanks and other hardware will roll past the Kremlin walls where the embalmed body of the first Bolshevik ruler, Vladimir Lenin, is still on view inside a marble mausoleum.

Reporting by Conor Sweeney; Editing by Robert Woodward