Heroines of Russia. Putin visited the Higher Military Aviation School.

The day before the 8th of March – the International Women’s Day – President of the Russian Fe deration, Vladimir Putin and the Defence Minister of Russia Sergei Shoigu visited the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots named after Hero of the Soviet Union A. K. Serov. below is a translation of an article from “Argumenty i Fakty”, telling about the visit. More photographs are available at the end of the original article in Russian.

Heroines of Russia. Putin revealed unknown details about himself to military women

Russian President Vladimir Putin is photographed with graduates of the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots named after Hero of the Soviet Union A. K. Serov. On the right in the center is Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu

The strategic bomber that President Vladimir Putin flew in, has not yet been put into operation, he personally made a “barrel” on the Su-27, he has been hardening since childhood, and respects women’s work on an equal basis with men’s. The head of state told about this in a frank conversation with graduates of the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots on the eve of March 8. And in the end, he wished the female participants of the SMO to return home as soon as possible.

During the conversation with the military pilots, the head of state noted that in any profession women show a responsible attitude to work, carefully work out all the little details, therefore they achieve good results. He called the School a “heroic educational institution”, whose graduates performed many feats during the Great Patriotic War, were prototypes of books, films and opera. And he expressed confidence that the graduates will continue these traditions.

“There are certainly elements of the romance of the sky, but it requires good professional training and a serious attitude to the work at hand. You need to know the technique, be able to control it. Today, our women and young lasses are serving in the zone of a special military operation, and that in different fields, and everywhere they serve the Motherland with dignity,” Putin assured.

One of the students thanked the President and the Ministry of Defence for the opportunity to become a pilot. For her, last year’s graduation was the main event. She asked what event in 2023 was the brightest for the head of state.

“My life consists of an endless stream of events and activities. I sometimes compare it to a waterfall. Even when I’m with my loved ones, I pretend that everything is fine, I rest. But I know that in 5 minutes I should get a call, in 10 minutes I will call someone, and in half an hour something will happen, I will have to react, correct. But for the whole country and for me, all the brightest and most significant things happened on the battlefield in the SMO zone. The most striking events are meetings with our guys and girls, their family members. I try not to show emotions, but these meetings carry the most emotional hue. Just like for the vast majority of our citizens,” Putin shared.

The President also told the students about his impressions of flying on different types of aviation. “If I piloted anything myself, it was a bi-plane [motorised deltaplane] when I flew with the cranes a few years ago, but I had to study for that. The sky is a serious matter. We flew low — about 400 meters, but when the wind blows, it shakes. This is not a simulator. 400 meters is a bit high,” the head of state believes.

Of the planes, Putin flew the Su-25 attack aircraft, the Su-27 fighter, the Tu-160 intercontinental supersonic strategic bomber and the Be-200 amphibious aircraft of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. He did not pilot them, but he made the “barrel” element (360 degree flip).

“The only element of piloting that I had on the Su-27 was when the commander handed over control and offered to make a “barrel”. I pulled the steering wheel up and to the right. The machine is very powerful and obedient. The flight on the Su-25 was also a delight. Especially the imperceptible transition to supersonic. Not even a click is heard. I tried to pilot a helicopter on the simulator. This is the most difficult part. You turn the handle there by a millimeter, the machine abruptly flies over, the point of balance changes. This wass the most difficult thing, apart from the time I piloted, flying with the cranes,” the president shared.

His last flight, on the Tu-160, was not planned. “The minister says it is impossible to fly, because we have not accepted the machine, and the industry has not yet handed it over. But when we came to the enterprise, the commander of the ship said that they were ready to be in the air in two hours, and offered to try. We sat down and flew with him. It was interesting to compare what happened to the machine since 2005, when I last flew it. It’s practically a new plane. The commander offered me to start the engine, I pressed the buttons. It was useful to see,” the head of state believes.

According to him, the modernization of the Tu-160 was carried out at the initiative of the Minister of Defence. There were proposals to close this project and open a new one. But in this case, there would be a gap in the availability of a combat-ready strategic aviation unit.

“I think the minister’s proposal was correct. We have actually created a new machine — operating at super speeds in strategic aviation, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, there are no such other in the world. Thus, we supported our nuclear triad,” Putin revealed the details.

Today, the army aviation “performs a very serious and necessary task on the battlefield,” it “deserves the highest appreciation and respect,” the president stressed. Despite the fact that this job is considered male, there are no professions where women could not work and achieve success, the head of state is sure.

Putin revealed to the girls the secret of his good physical shape.

“I always recommend doing sports. We will make a tax deduction to those who are constantly engaged in sports and pass the “Ready For Work and Defence” (GTO) standards. I practically eliminated alcohol. And I certainly try not to drink strong alcohol. A very good procedure is hardening. Hot and cold showers or contrasting baths. When I was a kid in Leningrad, I went out into the yard in winter and wiped myself with snow. If there is a desire, you can always find an opportunity to achieve results,” the president said.

Returning to the topic of male and female professions, the head of state called on the bosses to “be guided not by gender principles, but by business principles.” “If a person is worthy, shows results, it is impossible to constrict along the gender principles. They’d say they have a family, children. This is wrong. But it is just as wrong when they set a mandatory percentage for the number of women. It is necessary not to judge by percentages, but by business and personal qualities. If there is a choice and a woman shows herself appropriately when applying for any position, of course, there can be no restrictions here,” Putin said.

The main wish of the President to the women who are in the SMO zone, is for them to return home as soon as possible. “For example, I’ll tell you about military reporters. I see girls at the forefront, doing their journalistic duty. I instructed the heads of the TV channels to take them away from there, not to endanger them. And they took a vacation and went [to the SMO zone] on their own. The same applies to women who perform combat missions. They consider it their duty to be there. They serve the Motherland, this is their vocation, their inner life impulse. But, nevertheless, I want them to return home to their families and their responsibilities in this area as soon as possible. But I am still grateful to them for their service to the Fatherland and wish them happiness,” the head of state said.

As for the Russian officer corps, it “demonstrated the highest devotion to the Motherland, Fatherland and duty at all historical stages.” “Thanks to these qualities of officers, Russia has always achieved results and always emerged victorious from all the most difficult situations. When the soldiers say, “I will not let you down,” I hear, “We will not let the Motherland down.” And I, as the Supreme Commander—in-Chief, want to say: thank you for your service to the Motherland!” Putin summed up.

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