Russia celebrates Defenders of the Fatherland Day today. This year, it was announced as a state holiday. People all over the country bring flowers and wreaths to the monuments in honor of the military men who died defending their fatherland. President Putin laid flowers on the grave of the Unknown soldier in Moscow and had a meeting with the chairman of the veterans’ committee, Vladimir Govorov.
Representatives of the left-wing opposition arranged a demonstration in Moscow today, dedicating their procession to the 84th anniversary of the Soviet army and Navy. Thousands of people took part in the meeting, which was near the monument to Russia's well-known commander Georgy Zhukov.
There were no incidents registered during the meeting, except for the one, when the leader of the Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky wanted to join the communists. This raised wild indignation in the crowd. Someone even tried to hit Zhirinovsky, but he was protected very well by his bodyguards and yelled, “I am with you!” However, Zhirinovsky had to retreat.
The participants of the meeting called upon the authorities to stop the collapse of Russia’s Armed Forces, and they demanded that the government be dissolved. Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party claimed that the Russian army had never been in such a horrible position as now: “There are the talks about reform to make the Russian army professional, but the best officers have to leave because of the meager wages.”
Sergey Mironov, the speaker of the Federation Council, spoke about the same thing too today. Mironov said he was sure that the Russian army will be efficient when Russian officers receive high wages and up-to-date military equipment: “Russia’s defenders are in need of protection themselves, and in this case, it goes about the undetermined situation in the legal field.”
Mironov promised that he would try to improve the situation, since it was the duty of the state to serve the military men.” It has been 84 years since the historic victory of the Red Army over the German troops, stopping their offensive on Petrograd.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/23/37504.html