Emily Ferris, a research fellow specialising in Russia for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said the Kremlin's core messaging of Victory Day has evolved over time. She told ITV News: "It started off as commemorating the war. Over the years, especially under Putin's regime, what you're seeing more is it's an opportunity to rally people around collective Russian nationalism. "But also, increasingly and cynically, it's an opportunity to display Russia's military prowess... to send a message externally to the West that this is Russia's capability." "There is a very visceral collective memory of the Second World War. I think Victory Day is still quite dominant in terms of political narrative about why it's important for Russians to band together against an external enemy," she added. "The main question now is whether Putin will use this as a springboard for something bigger."