'Serve less, more TV': Russian Army boosts Olympic spirit
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Russian Army soldiers wait for transportation, in Sochi airport, Russia, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. AP PhotoThe Russian army announced Tuesday that it was giving some troops an extra four hours off per day to watch television during the Olympic Games so they can root for the athletes.
"There have been changes made to the soldiers' daily schedule to give them the opportunity to follow the Winter Olympic Games," a statement on the Russian defence ministry's website said.
For a month, soldiers based in the southern military district, which includes the Sochi region, will have an extra four hours per day to watch sports broadcasts on flat-screen televisions, it said.
Communal viewing of Olympic events during free time in the evening and after lunch is part of a month-long campaign with the slogan "Support our own!" The idea is to "form a healthy community" and "strengthen camaraderie" among soldiers, the ministry said.
The Russian army is one of the largest in the world and its ground forces consist of mainly young conscripts. The military has struggled for years to overcome an unappealing image of rife corruption, hazing, and outdated equipment.
Olympic organisers this month invited the uniformed choir of the interior ministry to perform a catchy cover of Daft Punk's hit "Get Lucky" at the opening ceremony in Sochi, which is hosting the Olympic Games until February 23.
The interior ministry has its own military troops, including conscripts.