Russia Celebrates Day of WWII Victory over Japan

Sputnik/Yekaterina Shtukina/Pool via Reuters
Deputy head of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev takes part in ceremonial events, that mark the anniversary of the World War Two victory over Japan, in Glory Square in the far eastern city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, September 3, 2023.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Russia held events in its Far Eastern region Sunday to mark the 78th anniversary of the 1945 victory of the former Soviet Union over Japan in World War II.

Participants paraded and laid flowers in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the capital of Sakhalin. Among the participants was former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, currently deputy chairman of the country’s security council.

“Japan must learn from the history … and fully recognize the results of the World War II, [and] do everything to prevent the third one from flaring up,” Russia’s state-run Tass news agency quoted Medvedev as saying.

The events were the first since Russia declared Sept. 3 as the Day of Victory over Militaristic Japan and the end of World War II earlier this year, renaming its World War II victory day.

The group of lawmakers who proposed the name change have said it is a countermeasure against Japan, a nation that has imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Ahead of the Sept. 3 anniversary, the Sakhalin government justified what Tokyo calls the “illegal occupation” of the northern territories.

It was in Sakhalin and on the Kuril Islands where the battles that decided the end of the war occurred, claiming the lives of more than 2,000 Soviet soldiers, the Sakhalin government said.

The Kuril Islands, called the Chishima Islands in Japan, were seized from Japan in the closing days of the war.

Senior Russian central government officials have visited the northern territories in recent years. In 2021, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin visited Etorofu, one of the northern territories.