PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would like to respond to a few points that were made here today. Concerning religious conviction, the state does not have the right to impose any convictions, and this also applies to religious convictions, on its citizens, including those serving in the Armed Forces. At the same time, however, the state must provide the conditions for people to be able to fulfil their religious needs and be able to worship. In this respect, we can certainly make use of the experience in other countries and can also make use of Russia’s own experience, for our country also had a good system that worked effectively in this area.

Regarding the concerns expressed by some veterans over the state of the Russian Armed Forces today, I understand these concerns. Of course, the lessons learned from past conflicts, and all the more so the lessons of the Great Patriotic War, show us what we must do to ensure our country’s security today and in the future. I think that we will have the opportunity to discuss this subject in more depth.