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It's been noted in a 2017 article that that year only Moldovan president Dodon attended the May Victory Day parade in Moscow:

Dodon was also the only head of state from the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States who stood at Putin’s side for the May 9 Victory Day Parade, marking the end of World War II.

Is this unusual though? I found from a 2015 article that said that Western leaders sometimes attended in the past but were snubbing the parade that year (although Merkel visited the next day, in a lower-profile event.)

However, I could not find whether the 2017 occurrence of only the Moldovan president attending from among the leaders of former Soviet republics is actually unusual. Did e.g. pre-2014 parades see more of these former Soviet republics leaders attending the parade?

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Yes, things have changed after the annexation of Crimea, as explained in this article by Deutsche Welle (via Google Translate):

Moscow does not expect the heads of foreign states to take part in the celebrations marking Victory Day on May 9, 2019. This was reported on Monday, April 29, by the Kremlin press service to the RIA Novosti news agency.

"No," - said the press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin - Dmitry Peskov, answering the agency's question about whether foreign leaders are expected to arrive in Russia on May 9. Earlier, he stated that the Kremlin did not specifically invite any of the foreign leaders to celebrate Victory Day.

The number of foreign guests at the Victory Parade fell sharply after the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Since Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, the number of heads of state attending the Victory Parade in Moscow has dropped markedly. If 30 foreign leaders were present at the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Victory Day on May 9, 2015 on Red Square, then in 2016 only the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev arrived in Moscow.

In 2017, only Moldovan President Igor Dodon visited Russia on Victory Day. In 2018, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the May 9 celebrations.

The list of attendees to the 2015 parade roughly reflects the list of nations recognizing Crimea as part of Russia or taking a neutral side. The 2005 parade had a much more diverse list of guests, showcasing the dwindling of Russia's international reputation.

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  • Still the number of representatives from the former Soviet republics (what I'm asking about) seems relatively constant. True, in 2005 both Nazarbayev and Niyazov (Turkmenistan) came, but it seems it was 1-2 of these at the most. My guess is that these CIS country leaders cannot really afford to snub Putin, but that he also won't like invite just everyone from CIS at the same time.
    – Fizz
    Sep 20 at 7:43
  • Actually, in the full 2005 list (which is collapsed on Wikipedia, unlike the lead photo), there were also Voronin (Moldova), Bakiyev (Kyrgyzstan), Aliyev (Azerbaijan), and Rahmon (Tajikistan), and Karimov (Uzbekistan). So that's more like 7 then. But I'm not sure these all stood next to Putin at the parade.
    – Fizz
    Sep 20 at 7:51
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    @Fizz in this photo you can see Aliyev, Rahmon and Nazarbayev. Possibly others too, the resolution is too low. Bakiyev is seen here. Another crop is here. Sep 20 at 8:26
  • @Fizz Karimov attended a veterans event on May 8th along with Yuschenko (Ukraine). The Ukrainian President apparently chose to attend a parade in Kiev the next day. Sep 20 at 8:31

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