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11 Apr, 2009 14:33

Former officers stage rally against army reform

Former officers stage rally against army reform

Despite local authorities’ opposition, a rally against the Russian army reform has taken place in Vladivostok.

‘Russian people and Russian army are united! Save Russia by saving the army!’ – Such was the motto of the protest in Vladivostok on Saturday.

Around 3 thousand former officers and other military personnel were expected to take part in the rally. However, the real figures turned out to be ten times smaller. As the organizers explained, many of those who could have come to the protest had been disoriented by reports that the rally wouldn’t take place at all.

Indeed, local authorities banned the rally, alleging as their reason that another rally, organized by the United Russia party youths, was to be held at the same time and place. However, despite the fact that the rally was illegal, the police didn’t make any difficulties for those protesters.

And those who were present didn’t lose any time. They denounced the 'American-style’ Russian army reform, which they believe could kill the armed forces in Russia. They demanded more social privileges for military retirees, reconsidered during the current reform, as well as higher salaries to active officers.

The protest resulted in the manifesto, which the activists plan to hand in to the Russian government shortly.