President Putin visited Russia’s leading developer and manufacturer of high-precision weapons, the Tula Instrument-Building Design Bureau. Escorted by the design bureau’s general director and chief designer Arkady Shipunov, the President toured the bureau’s showroom and inspected models of the latest weapons.
Then he met with war and labour veterans who previously worked at the bureau and congratulated them on the approaching May 9 holiday. In a conversation with the veterans, Mr Putin stressed the invaluable contribution made by Tula to the victory of the peoples of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War. Both those who fought on the front and those who worked in the rear took part in defeating the Nazis. The difference between them is now erased. The President stressed that formally wartime rear workers were not at the front lines, but they did everything possible to help secure the victory. He recalled that those who worked at the plant showed no less heroism than soldiers: they secured spare parts for tanks from knocked-out vehicles directly on the battlefield.
Veterans told President Putin how during the war it took them only 20 days to evacuate the plant east of the Urals and to restore and continue the production of equipment much needed by the country. Speaking about the present, they were proud to say that following the downturn of the 1990s the plant was revving up again. It now had a workforce of 8,000, which is much more than in the mid-1990s.
Participants in the meeting called the President’s attention to the need to increase state funding for the defence industry and allocate additional sums of money for the development and mastering of new weapons. Otherwise, they said, Russia risked losing its leading positions in world armament markets.
After his meeting with the veterans, President Putin laid flowers at a monument to the defenders of Tula during the Great Patriotic War and talked with city residents.
At the conclusion of his trip, the President had a meeting with Tula Governor Vasily Starodubtsev and took part in a formal meeting dedicated to the victory.