MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) – Half of the men detained for hooliganism during recent Paratrooper Day festivities in a Siberian city were not really paratroopers, regional police said Wednesday.
Only 11 of the 22 supposed servicemen who were busted for hooliganism in the Khakasia republic capital Abakan on August 2 had actually served in the Airborne Troops, police said, news site Regnum.ru reported.
The elite Airborne Troops have participated in most of Russia’s armed conflicts in recent decades, including the Afghan war and the two Chechen wars. The troops, known for their trademark blue-and-white striped tank tops and blue berets, number 35,000, their commander, Vladimir Shamanov, said in 2010.
Paratrooper Day is usually celebrated throughout Russia by servicemen and veterans with much gusto and includes activities such as bathing in public fountains and smashing watermelons and empty bottles on one’s own forehead, as well as copious amounts of drinking.