MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision not to attend events to mark the VE-Day on May 9 in Moscow is controversial, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Wednesday.
"Angela Merkel’s refusal to come [to Moscow] on May 9 raises questions," said head of the international affairs committee at the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament Alexey Pushkov. "What’s this - an attempt to rewrite history? Hitherto the German leadership has abstained from such steps," the lawmaker told a news conference in Moscow.
According to him, "Merkel’s decision is very controversial" and is a tribute to the political situation. Pushkov said that this decision was made to please the United States. "I think that in this case we can say that Merkel has made rather a tactical move, because on the 10th of May she will come to lay flowers at the [World War II memorial] Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," he added.
Russia was notified of Merkel’s decision not to attend the Victory Parade in Moscow on May 9 by the German government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, on March 11. He said this decision was caused by the situation in the east of Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Russian presidential chief of staff Sergey Ivanov told reporters previously that 25 foreign leaders and heads of international organisations have so far confirmed they will attend the Victory Parade on Moscow’s Red Square on May 9. "I can’t give you the final figure, and no one can. Some leaders remain undecided, so we will only be able to announce who will attend - and we will definitely do so - in early May. To date, 25 state leaders and heads of international organisations have confirmed they will attend. Foreign armies will be represented by 10 parade units as a minimum," Ivanov said.