Russian vets urge army to adapt street children

Tom Boland (
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 10:21:56 -0800 (PST)

FWD "Russian veterans urge army to take in street kids"

MOSCOW, 12-22-97  - Russian World War Two veterans issued an appeal on
Saturday to the armed forces, urging them to help some of the hundreds of
thousands of children abandoned on the country's streets, Itar-Tass news
agency said.

A group of retired senior commanders asked military units, most of which
are themselves in deep financial trouble, to revive the wartime Red Army
tradition of adopting war orphans and making them ``children of the

``Today practically every military unit has the means to adopt, feed and
clothe an orphan, help him feel the warmth and comfort of home,''  Tass
quoted the veterans' statement as saying, adding that the children's plight
was ``a national disgrace.''

``What is even more important, is that children should feel our sincere
desire to support them in the difficult period of their life, get the
feeling that a soldier is ready to offer them a helping hand,'' the
statement said.  Officials admit that abandoned children, whose parents
cannot or will not care for them, are a national problem.

Police complain that Moscow alone hosts tens of thousands homeless children
who fight for survival by prostitution, petty theft or even bigger crimes.
The few remaining orphanages are overcrowded and there is little other help
for street children.