‘We are not cutting back on V-Day celebrations or veterans' benefits’ – head of Russia’s presidential office

Head of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov (right) and war veterans at the opening of the Victory Exhibition timed to the 70th Victory in the Great Patriotic War in Moscow's Historical Museum. (RIA Novosti/Iliya Pitalev)
RT has spoken exclusively to the head of the presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, ahead of Victory Day celebrations in Russia. He said that most of the funds allocated to the events will be spent on veterans' housing and benefits.

Sergey Ivanov, who chairs the V-Day events organizing committee, has told RT in an exclusive interview, that despite current economic troubles, a decision was taken not to cut back on the events’ funding.

“The total budget is 28.5 billion roubles,” Ivanov said. However, he added, most of the money will go towards helping surviving WWII veterans enjoy the festivities: “To be exact, 12.5 billion roubles are for housing for the veterans. 12.3 billion rubles is allocated for social benefits for the veterans.”

As far as what exactly is planned, Ivanov said there were too many events to list: “There are thousands of events, I can't name them all – it will take maybe a whole day to name them all.” He did, however, let slip some details about what to expect - which you can hear in the full interview to be aired on Saturday.

Among other topics discussed was that of other countries’ attitudes towards Victory Day and the USSR's role in the victory over Nazi Germany. Sergey Ivanov said he thought the West was trying to rewrite history, almost putting the Soviets on a par with Hitler:

“Particularly in Western Europe and the United States, politicians deliberately try to rewrite, to twist history, to put, for example, Communism and Nazism on the same board, on the same level. And our veterans and most of the Russian public simply would never buy it, would never agree with that.”

He said the Soviet Union’s achievements against the Nazis cannot be denied: “There are a huge number of documents, historical proof that the Soviet Union played a crucial role in winning this most dreadful war in world history.”

Sergey Ivanov has been the head of the Russian presidential administration since December 2011. Before that, he held the posts of First Deputy Prime Minister (November 2005 - May 2008), Deputy Prime Minister (May 2008 - December 2011) and Defense Minister (March 2001 - February 2007).

The full interview will air Saturday, May 2.