Every year on 23 February, Defender of the Fatherland Day, Russia celebrates its armed forces - and men in general. 2018 is a special anniversary because 23 February this year is the centenary of the Red Army. For Russia's press it is an opportunity to look at how the armed forces are fairing in the public eye.
Russians like their army again
The domestic image of the Russian army has improved dramatically of late, reports Vedomosti:
“Russians have overcome their fear of military service and the unlawful conditions that prevailed there in the 1990s and 2000s. Hooliganism in the barracks has diminished and living conditions, particularly for professional soldiers, have improved. ... The successful annexation of Crimea and the low losses in the operations in Syria have had a positive impact on their image in the eyes of the public. ... In view of economic stagnation and low wages, for many, and particularly those in the provinces who struggle to get into high-ranking universities, the army offers a chance to get up in the world and earn a decent wage and some social standing.”
More military power, less security
The new confidence with which the Russian army is celebrating its centenary is ominous indeed, writes Alexander Goltz, editor-in-chief of the website ej2015.ru, which is banned in Russia, on newsru.com:
“It's a mistake to think that the successful increase of military power will increase the security of the Russian people. ... These military activities, whether in Ukraine or in Syria, have absolutely nothing to do with defending the country. Rather they serve to cement the Kremlin's 'pride' and counteract Putin's inferiority complex. ... As a result of this painstakingly fuelled military hysteria Russian society expects new triumphs from its commander in chief. ... And that is dangerous.”