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Thu, Aug 20, 2009

Vladimir Putin Opens Russia's National Airshow

Poor Economy, Tragic Accident Make For A Muted Opening

Like most places on the planet, Russia's aerospace industry has been hit hard by the global recession, a point not lost as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin opened the MAKS show Tuesday. The event was further marred by the death of one of the country's premier military aerobatic pilots, Igor Tkachenko, the commander of the country's celebrated Russian Knights aerobatic team. Tkachenko was killed in a mid-air accident during practice for the show Sunday.

Vladimir Putin File Photo

The international news service AFP reports Putin declared that the aviation industry was vital for Russia's future, saying: "It's exactly by developing the aerospace industry that we can fulfill our objective of diversifying the economy." "Without aviation, the Russian economy has no future and it is impossible to have defence capability without modern equipment," he said, "But this does not mean that these ideas will cover badly organized work and a lack of discipline."

Putin asked for a minute of silence to honor Tkachenko during his speech.

Moscow hopes the MAKS show will turn into one of the world's leading aviation events, but also uses the bi-annual event to showcase the country's military strength.

FMI: www.airshow.ru

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