Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has seized the occasion of a military holiday to congratulate Russia's allies. Unfortunately, countries like China, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Belarus will be disappointed.
"Russia has three allies," Rogozin wrote on Twitter. "They are the army, the navy, and the military-industrial complex"
Though seemingly outlandish, the comment is par for the course for Rogozin. The deputy prime minister is known for his ultra-patriotic views — he previously chaired the nationalist Rodina [motherland] party — and his professional portfolio includes managing Russia's defense industry.
The sentiment also has historical precedent. Alexander III — a Russian tsar deemed "The Peacemaker" for not leading Russia into any major wars during his reign — was fond of calling the army and the navy Russia's "only two true allies."
Rogozin followed his comment with another characteristic tweet — this time about NASA's discovery of three planets potentially suitable for life. "They're actively searching for a place to hide from us," he wrote.
February 23 is a public holiday in Russia, devoted to "defenders of the fatherland." Introduced in 2002, the holiday was created to replace the Soviet Union's Red Army Day. As such, it serves as both a holiday celebrating soldiers and men in general.
Update: On social media, some keen observers noticed that Rogozin also named Russia's true allies in February 2012, but back then there were four: the army, the navy, the military-industrial complex, and Vladimir Putin. That the president has apparently fallen from Rogozin's list has been a source of some joking online, where the Kremlin's critics have enjoyed teasing the deputy prime minister for his apparent lapse in loyalty. Rogozin has omitted Putin from his list of Russia's true allies in past years, as well.