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Soviet Union: Timid Salute to Afghan Vets

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It hardly amounts to a protest movement, but Soviet veterans of the war in Afghanistan have begun making it clear that they deeply resent the lack of official acknowledgment of their sacrifices. The Afghantsi, as they are called, have initiated newspaper letter-writing campaigns and organized assistance for the families of the estimated 12,000 Soviet soldiers killed in the war. Now, eight years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the veterans’ movement has won official blessing.

Komsomol, the youth branch of the Communist Party, gave permission for the formation of a nationwide umbrella organization to aid — and control — the hundreds of informal Afghan veterans’ groups that have sprung up. Among other activities, the new organization will raise money to build a monument to the war dead.

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