Friday, December 22, 2006

Chekist Day

Far from trying to conceal the growing power of Russia’s secret police, President Putin is apparently doing everything he can to advertise it, TimesOnline reports, in a description of Chekist Day:

Mr Putin, a former KGB spy, heaped praise on the secret services as state television broadcast pictures of champagne flowing and an orchestra playing classical music in a hall packed with spy chiefs and politicians.

The event on Wednesday evening marked the annual Security Service Workers’ Day, better known as Chekist Day. The Cheka, forerunner of the KGB, was founded on December 20, 1917, by Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the feared secret police. "There are many glorious pages, bright examples of true heroism and courage in
the history of national state security organisations,” Mr Putin told the gathering.

He reserved his “very warmest words of gratitude” for KGB veterans whose efforts, he said, had laid the foundations for Russia’s modern secret services. "This profession employs those who love our Motherland and who are selflessly devoted to their people. And it is not simply qualifications but also a high degree of civic consciousness and courage that act as guidelines for important and professional activities in this field,” Mr Putin said.

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