Speech at gala concert marking the 1000th anniversary of the unity of the Mordovian people with the peoples of the Russian state 2012-08-24 18:15:00 Saransk President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Hello, friends! Greetings to Saransk and all of Mordovia! I congratulate you on this major holiday: the 1000th anniversary of the unity of the Mordovian people with the peoples of the Russian state. This is a major event, not only for the Mordovian people and your republic, but for all of Russia, because from its very first steps, Russia was built as a multi-ethnic and multi-faith state. Our ancestors – the Slavic, Ugro-Finnic, Turkic and other tribes – laid the foundation more than a thousand years ago and created a huge, powerful, united, centralised state that now stretches from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. This is the great civilizational heritage that we must hold dear. It was our ancestors from the different ethnic groups who rallied and created a unified Russian people, the Russian nation. And what they accomplished is truly extraordinary. It is extraordinary because over the course of this long path, which has spanned a millennium, we have not lost the most important things we treasure: we have not lost our languages, our cultures and our traditions. Today, here on Mordovian soil, on this festive day, it is impossible not to remember the daughters and sons of the Mordovian people who have made an enormous input into our common wealth of Russia’s development. People like historian Vasily Klyuchevsky, Patriarch Nikon, and other outstanding cultural figures, historians and writers bring glory to all of Russia. Mordovia has always been known for its talents. There have always been outstanding historians, cultural figures, workers, and athletes in Mordovia, and I have no doubt that there will be many more. Thank you very much for your enormous input into Russia’s development! I know that today we have many guests here from various parts of our vast Fatherland. And it is immediately apparent that we are all very different, but when we are together, we make up Russia. Have a happy holiday!