Monday, May 10, 2021

Russian Officials Give Veterans Stale Gingerbread, Empty Promises and Flashy Cards Rather than Real Help

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 8 – Victory Day is supposed to center on remembering what those who fought for the Soviet Union did decades ago and on honoring the thinning ranks of the veterans of that conflict with special treatment. But a survey finds that officials instead are giving these aging men stale gingerbread, empty promises, and cards rather than real help.

            Viktor Kuznetsov, 89, of Yaroslavl Oblast asked for help in building a trench so his house wouldn’t flood. Officials ignored his request except to send him a package of stale gingerbread, something which they later had to apologize for (

            He had to dig the trench himself.

            Aleksandr Varlamov, 96, lives in Vladikavkaz. He expected that the government would live up to its promises last year and give him a car. But when he asked when that is going to happen, he was given the runaround, with each set of officials blaming others for the fact that he still has no automobile.

            But what has infuriated him this year in particular is that these same officials sent him a cheap but showy card thanking him for his services even as he has seen in the news that “700 people in Moscow, officials, receive 100 million rubles (1.4 million US dollars) a year and 101 receive 600 million (900,000 US dollars).”

            This is what we fought for, he asks bitterly. “We lived in the Land of the Soviets, all wealth belonged to the people, but now it belongs to some individuals.”

            And Vladimir Zaytsev, 89, who lives in Yekaterinburg, says that he considers himself well off and doesn’t ask anyone for help. But he is upset about one thing: Putin’s arranging to remain in office forever despite the Constitution. According to the veteran, his time is up and he should leave.

            “Several years ago,” Current Time TV reports, “many of these men still considered it an honor to personally take part in the Victory Parades in their cities. But now, as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the veterans can see these celebrations only on television or via the Internet.”

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