The two presidents discussed possibilities for furthering bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on current regional issues, especially the situation in the Balkans.
Mr Ivanov is in Russia to take part in a ceremony presenting him with the His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II Prize, awarded by the public organisation International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations.
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Beginning of meeting with President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, let me welcome you in the Kremlin.
I know that it is a special occasion that brought you to Russia. You are here to receive an award presented by the International Foundation for Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations. Today is a special day in Russia as well – the Day of Slavic Literacy, and the Slavic alphabet and literature came to us from Macedonian soil. I would like to begin by congratulating you on this award.
You and I are both aware of the fact that what I have just mentioned illustrates the special relations that bind us. It is a pleasure to see that our relations are developing and that, thank goodness, we are also seeing progress in our economic ties.
Of course, we closely follow developments in your country, and we most certainly wish you success in ensuring that Macedonia’s internal political situation develops in accordance with the Constitution and democratic procedure. I am sure that your experience, influence and authority will be of help here.
President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov (retranslated): Mr President, Mr Minister [Lavrov], Mr Ushakov,
It is a great honour for my delegation and for me to be here at the Kremlin today, all the more so as this visit, just as you said, does indeed have great significance, as today we are paying tribute to the pan-Slavic educators and saints, the brothers Cyril and Methodius, who are our spiritual teachers.
I thank you sincerely for your congratulations on this award. It has great significance for me personally as President, and for my country. This award has even greater significance because it is for 2016, which was the year when we celebrated the 1,100th anniversary of the death of Saint Clement of Ohrid, our most famous holy figure and the most prominent disciple of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius.
Although more than 1000 years have passed, so many centuries, we continue to honour the memory of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius and their disciple, Saint Clement. People in Macedonia say that a person dies not when he is buried, but when he is forgotten. We share a common memory of the educators Cyril and Methodius, and this does indeed give us hope for preserving their teachings and hope for the future.