On Child Protection Day, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits the Krasnaya Pakhra children’s heart centre in Troitsk, outside Moscow


Mr Medvedev visited the centre's play area, serving as a classroom during the school year. He also stopped by the cafeteria and saw what dishes were being served for dinner. The day's menu included a vegetable salad, meat with buckwheat as a side-dish, and fruit juice.

Mr Medvedev was also shown the main rehab unit, including an area with specialist equipment for electrophoresis and other medical procedures. Dr Dyatlova, the centre's chief doctor, said most of the patients make a stride toward recovery after the 21-day rehabilitation course offered here.

The prime minister then headed on to the playground, where the Formula of Success competition was underway. The entrants, split up into teams, were carrying out assignments. One of these was about creating urban planning models from cardboard, foil, old boxes and chocolate wraps. The prime minister wondered about the function of each of the models submitted. He was shown models of a socialising area, a swimming pool, and urban green spaces.

Another assignment was to make balloon animals. The prime minister liked the examples he was shown. "You can have them if you like," a caregiver said and offered him one of the handmade toys. He accepted it and then made his own balloon animal in return.

A third assignment involved creating a social network and registering a Twitter account. Mr Medvedev went to the computer and typed a message: "Hello to everyone at Krasnaya Pakhra."

On his way out, he dropped into the art workshop called the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The children in there were trying to express through visual arts how they see themselves in this world.

Mr Medvedev then approached the nearby information stands to read about improvements to the system of children's resorts in Russia. Labor and Social Protection Minister Maxim Topilin and Education Minister Dmitry Livanov updated Mr Medvedev on the state of children's resorts across the country.

According to Mr Topilin, there are more than 50,000 such resorts in Russia at the moment, with most concentrated in the Central, the Volga, and the Siberian Federal Districts. A total 8.8 million children spend their holidays in summer camps in this country, he said. He spoke in detail about major Russian children's resorts, such as Orlyonok, Okean and Smena.

Deputy Prime Minister for Social Policy Olga Golodets demonstrated a model of the seaside recreation centre Kamchia, in Bulgaria, which is part of an international project run by the Moscow government. The resort's current capacity is 110 children, but several more blocks are to be added later on. According to Mrs Golodets, all the programmes offered there are built around a certain theme and help children learn new things. "There's no substitute for Bulgaria as the first foreign destination [for Russian travelers]," Mr Livanov said jokingly.

"As it was in the Soviet times," Mr Medvedev played up. "Back then, one had to pass the 'test of Bulgaria' before he or she could aspire to go to a more distant country."

At the end of his visit, the prime minister left a print of his palm on a special wall and an inscription. "Have a great holiday and get well soon!"

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