On what used to be called Day of the Army and Navy or Red Army Day during the Soviet-era, thousands of Russians rallied to support the country’s military.
February 23 is still a national holiday to honour the military – now known as Defender of the Fatherland Day.
Most of the people who took part are supporters of the Russian Communist party worried about reforms that will see the army reduced by more than 100,000 officers.
“Regretfully our army is currently unable to protect our motherland, in my opinion. That’s why all of us and the country leaders should do a lot in order to strengthen the spirit of our army,” said retired officer Eduard Akopyan
Russian President Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin.
Three months ago, Putin appointed his ally Sergei Shoigu as defence minister after sacking Anatoly Serdyukov for getting caught up in a corruption scandal.
It is thought Serdyukov may have been dismissed for his unpopular reforms including military job cuts and forcing defence manufacturers to accept lower prices. However, despite his sacking, his reforms will go ahead.
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