At its plenary meeting on Wednesday, the State Duma (the lower chamber of parliament) of Russia plans to consider two parliamentary inquiries - to chairman of the government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Kasyanov and to Prosecutor-General of Russia Vladimir Ustinov on facts of recruitment of citizens of the Russian Federation to participate in the military operation in Afghanistan. As the initiator of these inquiries, chairman of the State Duma defence committee Andrei Nikolayev, told RIA Novosti, these inquiries are caused by the appearance in some mass media of late of the information on facts of recruitment of Russian citizens to participate in the military operation in Afghanistan. Nikolayev said that the inquiries ask the Premier and the Prosecutor-General to give corresponding explanations of Russia's official stand on the question of mercenaries. Nikolayev did not rule it out that "a statement that the Russian Federation does not recommend that its citizens join formations of this kind may be voiced" in response to his inquiries. Anyway, the deputies must know our country's attitude "to this problem as a whole and if Russia encourages mercenaries or not", the chairman of the defence committee noted. Nikolayev also said that no legislative base which would regulate the question of mercenaries now exists in Russia. He also declared in no uncertain terms to be against mercenaries. According to him, "if an individual has to go to war for earning his living this does not do honour to the state a citizen of which he is". "Apart from people capable of using arms", Russia "has what to export", Nikolayev emphasized.
Near the United Nations Glass Palace in New York, there is a metallic sculpture entitled "Evil Defeated by Good", representing Saint George transfixing a dragon with his lance. It was donated by the USSR in 1990 to celebrate the INF Treaty concluded with the USA in 1987