Putin prepares Russia for anniversary of World War II's end

July 12, 2013 at 3:44 PM
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PROKHOROVKA, Russia, July 12 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking Friday at the site of a major World War II battle, said 2015's anniversary of the war's end will be a major event.

The Russian state news agency ITAR-Tass reported Putin called for the remembrance to have "profound content," with more history and less military spectacle.

His remarks came at a celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Prokhorovka, in which more than 1,200 tanks and self-propelled artillery contested a crucial battle at the height of Eastern Front warfare in 1943 in a small town on a railway line linking Moscow with eastern Ukraine.

"The task now is to step up the efforts for improving the veteran' social and economic conditions," Putin said, adding the pivotal battles of the war were "not mere stages of World War II. They are the building blocks of our country's history, a common recollection about the valor of our ancestors."

While in Prokhorovka, Putin ordered a surprise check of the Eastern Military District's combat readiness, the third such non-routine inspection of combat readiness of the year. The order follows a major shake-up at the top of a Russian military establishment tarnished by persistent evidence of corruption, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday.

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