July 01, 2001

Passing on the Memories

On the eve of Victory Day this year, Russia had 1,021,000 WWII war veterans. Of these, 205,129 were still waiting to receive a state apartment and 254,611 were waiting for a telephone line to be installed.

Veteran Mikhail Platonov had been waiting for a telephone since 1984. This year, on the eve of Victory Day, he was sent a postcard informing him that “he was granted permission to install a telephone.” Unfortunately, Platonov died in 1997. According to the Russian Committee on War Veterans, such cases are unfortunately not that rare.

Meanwhile, recent polls show that hazing scandals and problems in the military are changing Russians’ views of that institution. Over half of Russians (55%) polled by monitoring.ru said they want an end to military conscription and the establishment of a fully professional army. Fully 69% of Russians polled by ROMIR do not want their close relatives drafted into the army. These sympathies are now reflected in draft-dodging. Interfax reported that, in 1985, 443 Russians refused to answer the military draft. In 2001, that number had risen to 20,000.

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