President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, friends,
I would like to extend my wholehearted greetings and congratulate you on completing your studies.
In keeping with tradition, as we honour the best graduates of military academies and universities, we come to the reception halls of the Moscow Kremlin, which stand witness to the greatest moments in the history of Russia and are filled with symbols of military glory and pride.
I strongly believe that at this moment each and every one of you is aware of the unbreakable bond that transcends time and generations. All of you realise that you have been trusted with the highest honour as soldiers and officers of perpetuating what other sons and daughters of the Fatherland and heroes did when they stood up for the freedom and independence of their homeland, and protected peace and security for our people.
At all times and throughout centuries, the Russian officers’ corps served its Fatherland faithfully, while Russian commanders were always known for their ironclad will and courage, professionalism and respect for their subordinates, and readiness to sacrifice themselves for the Fatherland and their comrades-in-arms. Continuity of these great traditions provides the Russian army and navy a spiritual and moral foundation, underpinning its strength and firmness for the current and future generations of Russian officers.
Comrades, over the past years a great deal has been done to develop the Russian Armed Forces. The Russian Army demonstrated its increased potential and coordination when it fought terrorists in Syria. It is now up to you and your comrades-in-arms to make full use of this operation in your military training.
As you know, we started the withdrawal of our forces during my visit to Khmeimim. The withdrawal carries on as we speak: 13 aircraft, 14 helicopters, and 1,140 personnel were withdrawn over the past few days. All these people were tested in combat. You and your comrades-in-arms will have to make full use of this experience when training personnel in Russia in order to master the most challenging and unconventional skills that will be tested during snap inspections, strategic and tactical exercises, and learn to use cutting-edge new generation armaments that are being supplied to the Army.
We have achieved a decisive breakthrough in this field, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it required an outstanding effort from our researchers, engineers and manufacturers. This was a true feat by the workers, engineers and researchers. Just as so many times in our history, they have succeeded in what others were unable to achieve.
Six years ago, the share of modern weapons and equipment used by the Russian army and navy did not exceed 16 percent, but now this indicator is approaching 60 percent. If we keep up this momentum, the target threshold of 70 percent will have been reached by 2021.
A number of Russian weapons’ systems are years, if not decades ahead of similar foreign products. For instance, an experiment to deploy the latest Kinzhal air-launched missiles in the Southern Federal District is underway. Avangard intercontinental missile systems will be delivered to the army in the near future, and Sarmat ICBMs will follow within one year. This is only part of the modern armaments that are expected to improve Russia’s potential several fold.
You will soon take up your duties in the army. Your goal is to become true military professionals, and in order to do so you need to master management tactics and the latest equipment, be competent when managing personnel, and be always up to the standard set during the years of your studies. You have to be the best, serving as a role model for your comrades-in-arms and subordinates. I strongly believe that you are ready to deliver on this vision.
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my greetings to the officers who are about to join law enforcement agencies and security services.
You will be facing a very broad range of tasks, including protecting citizens’ rights and freedoms, and waging a merciless war on terrorism and extremism, organised crime and corruption. I hope that you will demonstrate your best professional and personal qualities by adopting a responsible and principled attitude while strictly abiding by the letter and spirit of the law.
I want to emphasise that the state will expand the social safety net for the service members, officers and their families.
The amount of service pay has been adjusted since January 1. This practice will, of course, continue.
There is a programme to provide service members with permanent housing. This year, over 4,000 families moved into new flats, and almost 14,500 keys to service housing were issued.
Medical services are improving. An important issue for officers' families such as enrolling children in kindergartens and nurseries is being addressed. This year, it is planned to more than quadruple the number of free military sanatoriums for children of military members.
To reiterate, the work to improve social safety net will definitely continue.
Friends, in closing, I would like to quote legendary Air Force Marshal Alexander Pokryshkin, who said that ”the most important and most sacred thing is our duty to the Motherland.“ I am confident that Russian officers will show impeccable performance and reliably protect the security of our Motherland and citizens.
Once again, I congratulate you on the occasion of completing your studies. I wish happiness and good health to you, your families and friends. I wish you and all 2018 graduates successful service.
I propose a toast for the continuation of the best traditions of the Russian officer corps, for our Armed Forces and Russia.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, comrade officers,
Here, in the Grand Kremlin Palace, we now have the top graduates of military universities, recipients of gold medals, scholarship holders and honours students – those who have the honour to represent a new detachment of the officer corps. At all times, it has been the core of the Armed Forces, the backbone of state power, and the guarantor of the country's independence and peaceful life.
Today, it is hard to imagine an officer without a fundamental systemic training, general culture and high moral qualities. Moreover, officers must constantly improve the knowledge and skills received at the university, and persistently look for new forms of personnel training. It is not accidental that the outstanding military leaders were well-rounded people, talented educators and skilful psychologists who knew how to find a path to the soldier's hearts.
Comrades, I am confident that you, as heirs of our military glory, will bear with honour the honourable title of defenders of the Fatherland and will always abide by the officer’s code of honour. One of its precepts says, “Give your soul to God, your heart to a woman, your duty to the Fatherland, and your honour to no one.”
Please accept my best wishes on the conclusion of an important period in your professional development. Be strong in spirit, show initiative and strive for success. The national leadership and the Defence Ministry count on you.
Let us drink to the power and prosperity of our great Motherland and its loyal allies: the Army and Navy, for President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Russia Vladimir Putin, to the heath and prosperity of those present!
Graduate of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Major General Alexander Maksimtsev: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation, comrade officers,
Today we have graduated from military academies and universities and entered a new period in our lives, the period of serving our Motherland.
During our studies, we acquired practical skills that will help us protect national security and defend the state and its interests against any armed threats and challenges. We are deeply aware of this great responsibility for the Motherland and are ready to do our military duty to the best of our abilities.
Let us express our gratitude to our teachers and mentors, who have shared their rich life and combat experience and their thorough knowledge of the military art with us. Thank you.
Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
Allow me to express our gratitude to you and to the leaders of the country and the Defence Ministry for your unflagging attention to the Armed Forces, for supplying the latest weapons and hardware to the troops and for enhancing the prestige of military service and patriotic education of the young people.
I assure you on behalf of all of us that we will fulfil all the tasks of ensuring national security, which you have set to us.
Let us drink to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, to Russia, and to its glorious Armed Forces and the unconquerable Russian soldier!