The ceremony for presenting state decorations was traditionally held at the Kremlin's St Catherine hall.
Orders, medals and certificate conferring honorary titles have been awarded to prominent figures from the culture and arts world, education professionals, scientists, lawyers, skilled labour workers and representatives of other professions.
In particular, the medal For Courage has been awarded to Rossiya TV channel employees. According to the President, their courage, honest and fair coverage of the events made it possible for millions of people to learn the truth about the Middle East hot spots.
The Order of Honour has been awarded to the Russian Investigative Committee’s officers for investigating a number of complex criminal cases, including corruption-related cases.
About 40 state decorations have been awarded.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, good afternoon,
We have gathered here ahead of the Near Year, 2013. And I am very happy to congratulate you on your state decorations and to be here with you today.
This time just before the New Year brings everyone together in surprising ways, creating friendly moods and inspiring warm relations and caring attitudes toward others.
Naturally, we all value this well-wishing atmosphere and it is very important to maintain it throughout the entire next year, because when we have a positive outlook, we can succeed in any task, achieve better results, and manage many difficult challenges.
This is the time when we traditionally build new plans, think about the future and hope for the better. Let me tell you that these hopes are absolutely founded. Our nation has everything it needs for positive, successful changes: first and foremost, constructive attitudes, growing civil activity, and our society’s aspiration to unite around common goals.
I am confident that we will unfailingly achieve economic and social targets we have set. Much has already been done in this current year, and in the coming year we will all need to work even harder to achieve significant results.
And there is a special role in this process for brave, forward-minded people with strong spiritual and ethical foundation, those who are ready to search, move forward, and achieve results.
And it is precisely these people that have gathered in this hall today. Each of you has had your own path towards success, but all were able to achieve outstanding personal victories.
The word “dream” is heard often ahead of the Near Year. And your lives are a bright example of how dreams can come true and become a reality. Your work and efforts have opened the way to major scientific discoveries and innovative projects, new creative achievements and athletic feats, but the most important thing is that you achieve your potential here, in our nation, in Russia.
And today’s decorations serve as recognition by the state and society of your merits and exceedingly high professionalism, your patriotism and commitment to your civic duty.
The medal For Courage will be awarded to Rossiya TV channel employees. This decoration is usually awarded to military people – those who distinguish themselves through their military prowess and personal courage. But this time, it was justly deserved by representatives of an absolutely peaceful profession: Anastasia Bourt, Mikhail Vitkin and Yevgeny Lebedev. Thanks to their courage, their honest, impartial work, millions of people around the world learned the truth about the events in the Middle East hot spots.
Members of the Russian Investigative Committee – Colonel of Justice Yevgeny Ochkurenko and Lieutenant Colonels of Justice Alexander Prokopets and Alexei Stadnikov – also demonstrated staunchness and a high level of professionalism. They investigated a number of complicated criminal cases, including corruption-related ones.
People working in science, education and culture make a huge contribution to the development of our nation. Many of them are well-known not just here, but abroad as well. Their names speak for themselves; they are truly loved by millions of people. It is enough to mention the virtuoso conductor Pavel Kogan, prominent design engineer Vladimir Yukhnin and famous scientist and economist Yevgeny Yasin.
There is no need to introduce Mikhail Zhvanetsky or Konstantin Khabensky, who truly deserve the title of National Artist of Russia, just as do Yevgeny Romashko and Vladimir Sokovnin.
I would like to express particular words of recognition toward those who devoted their lives to educating the rising generation: director of the Bryansk magnet school Igor Afonin and Barnaul magnet school teacher Raisa Korkina. Their tireless, selfless efforts are recognised with the highest state decoration in education: the title National Teacher of Russia.
Love and harmony in your family and the support of your friends play an enormous role in life of any person. But it is no less important to devote your efforts and talent toward interesting work, where you can fully realise your aspirations and abilities. And when your work benefits society and your nation, this is what makes you truly happy.
I believe that only happy people are here today, the ones who, without exaggeration, are changing our nation, changing the world – and changing it for the better.
I sincerely congratulate you on your decorations and wish you a Happy New Year! I wish you all the very best.
Thank you for your attention.