The subjects discussed included new arms and equipment for the armed forces, higher service pay, and better service conditions. The European missile defence issue was also discussed.
This is not the first time Mr Medvedev has visited the headquarters of the 58th Army. The President made his first visit straight after the peace enforcement operation in Georgia, and returned a year later to award state decorations to distinguished servicemen.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrades,
My greetings to you all. I have come here rather unexpectedly, but I think it is right and proper to meet regularly with members of the officer corps.
I have visited the headquarters of the 58th Army before, for the reasons you know. I first came almost immediately following the events of August 2008, and have returned since then to present decorations and take part in meetings.
It so happens today that I attended, together with my colleagues, the Armed Forces leadership and the Security Council Secretary [Nikolai Patrushev], the unveiling of a memorial to the events of August 2008 and the servicemen who took part in the operation to bring Georgia to peace.
Time goes fast. More than three years have passed since then, but the important thing is that our views and assessment of the events of those days have not changed. We stand by our position that our army did what was absolutely necessary then to save many lives and to, if not completely eliminate the threat that came from Georgian soil at that moment, at least contain it. They succeeded fully in their mission.
Sadly, this was achieved at the cost of the lives of our comrades and servicemen who took part in the peacekeeping operation and then in the operation to enforce Georgia to peace.
But let us not linger in past memories right now. Every time I come here, of course it is always these events that come foremost to my thoughts, but let us not forget that life continues, and that the Armed Forces are looking today not towards the past, but to the future.
Let us thus talk about the situation today and how the reform and modernisation process is going. Let’s look at what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done, and listen to your proposals and thoughts on various aspects of the Armed Forces’ development and also what we can do to develop and support the social status of our servicemen.