During the reception, Russian state decorations were presented to foreign citizens for their contribution to strengthening cooperation with Russia and developing Russian culture abroad.
Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky presented the decorations.
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Speech at a reception marking National Unity Day
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends. Congratulations on the National Unity Day!
This is our newest national holiday, but its roots go back deep in time to events that played a defining role in our country’s history. Four hundred years ago, our people ended the Time of Troubles, a period which had seen our country weakened. Any other outcome would have left Russia in danger of losing its independence and deprived our nation of its historical perspectives, culture, and spiritual uniqueness.
The Russian people took their destiny in their hands then. They united in the name of Russia, in the name of their Motherland, putting aside differences of social class, ethnicity and religion, and showing that there are values and goals of such brightness and importance that all else pales in comparison. The people freed Moscow from the foreign interventionist forces and from those who had sold and betrayed Russia, and then, acting of their own free will, they established strong and effective government in the country.
The spirit of unity and creation is woven through the entire fabric of Russian history. Its might built and united a great nation. It made enemies retreat, put an end to internal quarrels and strife, and thwarted attempts to conquer and bring our country to its knees.
The twists and turns of history have tested the solidity of Russia’s foundations, but our people’s unity, based on love for the native land and responsibility for its fate, has always won in the end. This unity has always been a sure support for our country and I’m sure always will be.
”The twists and turns of history have tested the solidity of Russia’s foundations, but our people’s unity, based on love for the native land and responsibility for its fate, has always won in the end. This unity has always been a sure support for our country and I’m sure always will be.“
2012, which was declared the Year of Russian History, is rich in important dates. In September, we marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino and the 1150th anniversary of the founding of Russian statehood, and now we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the victory that ended the Time of Troubles.
Over the centuries, Russia has had its share of successes, mistakes, and victories, and today is once more gaining strength and influence in the world. We have our eyes on the future, but at the same time, we will always remember our past and do everything we can to keep the links of time alive.
As we celebrate this holiday today, we all sense the uninterrupted flow of centuries, this long road that Russia has travelled, and we know that we are the direct inheritors of the common cause to which our forebears dedicated their lives. We know that we must honour and preserve their traditions, traditions such as genuine deep-rooted patriotism and mutual respect between peoples. These values help to consolidate our society today too, and create the foundation upon which we can build up our democracy and civic awareness, strengthening our country and our civic solidarity.
Pyotr Stolypin [1862–1911, a statesman in the Russian Empire] rightly considered the state to be the irreplaceable power that takes its source in the people and history and works for their interests. He said that the state, in carrying out the people’s wishes and developing cultural traditions, subordinates the rights of particular individuals and groups to the rights of the whole, and the whole as he saw it was Russia itself.
His words are still just as relevant today. What’s more, in our modern world, an effectively functioning state is more important than ever. The international community has already realised that weakening and eroding the institution of national state sovereignty ends up threatening everyone’s security and that only equal dialogue between sovereign states on the basis of international law will always be the main factor in preserving global stability.
Friends! It is tradition that at the reception we hold on this day we are joined by our compatriots from abroad. We know that for you, Russia is more than simply the land of your forebears. You share in full measure its concerns and problems and take a real interest and involvement in its fate. This is what makes the Russian community abroad unique, and we have a duty to preserve its traditions and heritage. We are united by the deepest and most fervent emotion – love of and belief in Russia.
We value the contribution our compatriots abroad, and foreign citizens too, make to developing friendship and cooperation with our country. We have enormous respect for your freely expressed desire to be true friends and patriots of our country, and we support your multifaceted work to preserve the Russian world’s space and encourage partnership-based and humanitarian projects. In recognition of your services, I ask the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation [Vladimir Medinsky] to present you with the state decorations you have earned.
Thank you for your attention. I congratulate you all once more on this holiday.