Russian President Vladimir Putin has decorated 12 participants in the Far Eastern Mobility-2004 exercise who particularly distinguished themselves.
Then he asked the servicemen about conditions of their service. In particular, he inquired in detail about contract servicemen's wages, their living and housing conditions.
The servicemen asked the president what in his view could boost the prestige of the army.
"In order to raise the prestige, it is necessary to raise prosperity so that men should want to join the army," Putin said. "Understandably, it all requires time," the president noted. It is important to show that the army protects the population, the president emphasised.
"If we regularly do what we are doing today, then the interest will be high, because interest is present when there are successes," said the head of state.
As an example he quoted the European football championships. If we had won it, the whole country would have shown an interest in football, believes the head of state.
At the same time Putin recalled that "exercises and encampments have been held regularly in the recent period." "If we work in this way further, the level of training will improve, the attitude to the army will be better, and its prestige higher," believes the president.
The conversation took place during men's dinner. The president and the defence minister, who also took part in the conversation, were offered to taste the soldiers' meal.
After several minutes in the presence of the press the conversation between servicemen and the president went on without the participation of journalists.
Putin, on a working trip to Vladivostok, on Wednesday arrived at the Sergeyevsky firing range, where he watched the active phase of the Mobility-2004 exercise from the command post.