15 images of dictators’ parades that make Trump’s July 4th tanks look half-hearted

The military parade President Donald Trump proposed is set to be held on November 10.

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The military parade President Donald Trump proposed is set to be held on November 10.
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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

  • US President Donald Trump observed France’s Bastille Day celebration in 2017. He wanted a similar event in the US, but critics were concerned about the cost – and parallels to military parades in totalitarian countries.
  • Trump’s “Salute to America” took place on July 4, 2019, and featured flyovers from Air Force One, a B-2 stealth bomber and the Blue Angels.
  • Here’s a look at how military parades in states led by strongmen compare to Trump’s July 4 event.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US President Donald Trump’s military parade on July 4th came with significant criticism, about the cost of the festivities and the politicization of a civic holiday. Some critics even compared the event to similar parades in totalitarian countries.

Trump’s parade drained the fund that Washington, DC uses to provide security for federal events, according to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and cost the Pentagon about $1.2 million. He was inspired by France’s Bastille Day celebration, which he attended as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017.

While the military firepower at Trump’s “Salute to America” may have been impressive – it included appearances from the Blue Angels and Air Force One – these military parades led by foreign dictators give it a run for its money.


Belarus’s Independence Day celebration in 2018 was a vibrant one.

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A Belarussian serviceman leaves after a military parade marking the Belarus’ Independence Day in Minsk, July 3, 2018.
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Vasily Fedosenko / REUTERS

Belarus is nominally a democracy, but its president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in power since 1994.

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Belarussian servicemen march during a military parade marking the Belarus’ Independence Day in Minsk, July 3, 2018.
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Vasily Fedosenko / REUTERS

Source: Deutsche Welle


Beijing celebrated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with these camouflaged cruise missiles.

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Military vehicles carry DF-10 ship-launched cruise missiles as they travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing Thursday Sept. 3, 2015.
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Andy Wong/Pool / REUTERS

China’s President Xi Jinping has overseen the detention of ethnic Uighurs in prison camps, in addition to the religious persecution and press censorship typical of the Chinese state.

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Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) raise a Chinese national flag during the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the army at Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, July 30, 2017.
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China Daily via REUTERS

The limits to presidents serving only two terms were lifted in 2018, allowing Xi to remain in office for life.


Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Maduro has overseen a dramatic humanitarian crisis in the country, but will not resign his post.

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Soldiers take part in a military parade to celebrate the 205th anniversary of Venezuela’s independence in Caracas, July 5, 2016.
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REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Maduro claimed victory in a 2018 election where he suppressed and jailed political opponents, an election result that remains disputed by opposition leader Juan Guaidó.


In the face of concern over US military intervention, Venezuela’s troops put on a show for the country’s Independence Day parade this year.

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Venezuelan soldiers take part in a military parade to celebrate the 208th anniversary of Venezuela’s declaration of independence in Caracas, Venezuela July 5, 2019.
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Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Trump’s parade was unfavorably compared to military parades in autocratic states like Russia.

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Russian servicemen march during the Victory Day parade, marking the 71st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2016.
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Grigory Dukor / REUTERS

Source: PBS


Russian fighter jets practice for the Victory Day parade, in which Russia celebrates victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

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Russian Air Force Su-25 jets fly past the Russian flag over Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia May 7, 2019.
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Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS

Vladimir Putin is in his fourth term as Russia’s president, and has jailed political opponents and reduced press freedoms, and citizens have been harassed and beaten while observing elections.


North Korea places great importance on its military; its constitution says that military service is the duty and honor of citizens.

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North Korean soldiers march during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of the country’s founding father Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.
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Damir Sagolj / REUTERS

Source: INSIDER


North Korea also takes the opportunity to show off its firepower.

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Missiles are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country’s founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017.
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Damir Sagolj / REUTERS

Kim Jong Il choose his son Kim Jong Un to be his successor as supreme leader over two of his older sons.


Iran’s military marches before President Hassan Rouhani in 2017.


Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, oversees a theocratic regime that detains dissidents, restricts freedom of speech, and oppresses LGBT citizens.

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Military truck carrying a missile and a picture of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen during a parade marking the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2015.
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Raheb Homavandi/TIMA via REUTERS

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Members of Saudi security forces take part in a military parade in preparation for the annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca
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Ahmad Masood / REUTERS

Source: Vox


The Saudi security forces climb a flaming structure during a military parade.

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Members of Saudi security forces take part in a military parade in preparation for the annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca September 17, 2015.
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Ahmad Masood / Reuters

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan rules over a country that is becoming increasingly less free. The Turkish government detains dissidents and threatens the press.

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Turkish soldiers carry a huge national flag and a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, during a military parade marking the 93rd anniversary of Victory Day in Ankara, Turkey, August 30, 2015.
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Umit Bektas / REUTERS

Erdogan has limited press freedom and opposition politicians have been jailed. After a failed coup, Erdogan narrowly won a referendum that expanded his legislative and judicial powers.