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Putin’s muted show at Victory Day proves he’s shifted to a long game, writes author MARK GALEOTTI

To the casual observer, yesterday’s Victory Day parade in Moscow was much like any other. 

In the VIP box, President Putin was surrounded by a gaggle of heroic veterans and high-ranking officers festooned with medals and Ruritanian amounts of gold braid.

In front of them there were the usual march-pasts by thousands of goose-stepping soldiers, sailors and airmen.

And the ground shook as a convoy of armoured vehicles and heavy weaponry – from a Second World War-era tank to intercontinental ballistic missile launchers – trundled by.

But a number of perennial features of Victory Day were notable by their absence.

First, there was no flypast. Usually the parade held to celebrate the anniversary of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 is an occasion to showcase new fighter jets, bombers…

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