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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrades, colleagues,
We are meeting today on the eve of the Interior Troops’ 200th anniversary. The founding dates back to March 27, 1811. This is a special anniversary of course, a date that bears witness to the Interior Troops’ history and longstanding professional traditions, and today’s ceremony, including the choice of venue, is evidence of just how important your service is for guaranteeing our country’s security.
Right from the time of their founding, as the documents dating from the reign of Emperor Alexander I state, the Interior Troops were responsible for “protecting peace in the land”. It sounds a little old-fashioned now, but it is a very accurate definition of your duties. Your mission has not changed since those days, and sadly, your service has not become any easier or any less dangerous.
All of you here today have chosen the difficult profession of ensuring that our citizens can live peaceful lives. This is not a job for those who take shelter behind others’ backs. It is a job for those who are willing to defend their country’s interests at the risk of their own lives.
The Interior Troops protect our country’s territorial integrity and work together with the other law enforcement agencies to maintain public law and order. The Interior Troops are also part of the fight against international terrorism, because the sad reality is that terrorism goes beyond national boundaries and is usually interlinked with other terrorist organisations.
You and your comrades have the crucial responsibility of combating the terrorist threat within our country, strengthening peace and stability in the North Caucasus, and ensuring that the principle of inevitable punishment for crimes committed is upheld. It is therefore with genuine pleasure that I present you with these state decorations.
”All of you have chosen the difficult profession of ensuring that our citizens can live peaceful lives. This is not a job for those who take shelter behind others’ backs. It is a job for those who are willing to defend their country’s interests at the risk of their own lives.“
Courage, professional skill, and most importantly, honest service of your country are the foundations of your achievements. These are essential qualities not just in the Interior Troops, but in every area of public service, and our country is rich in people with just such qualities.
I will name a few of those who are being decorated today, but I want to start by saying that we have with us today Lyudmila Shiryayeva, the mother of Interior Troops captain Grigory Shiryayev, who is receiving the title Hero of Russia posthumously. Ms Shiryayeva will be presented with the Gold Star today. Grigory Shiryayev took part in dozens of anti-terrorist operations in the North Caucasus, and showed himself to be a professional of the highest calibre, and an officer loyal to his oath and duties. On February 4, 2010, his group came under heavy fire from bandits. Captain Shiryayev drew the bandits’ fire upon himself and was killed saving his comrades’ lives. I want to thank Ms Shiryayeva for her wonderful son, and say that it is our duty of course to preserve the memory of people such as him in our country’s chronicles.
The Order of Courage is being awarded to a group of servicemen, including lieutenant colonel Alexander Makarenko, warrant officer Viktoria Zabozhenko, master sergeant Melitina Beryozova, and private Sergei Borodai. Their skill and ability to act fast in a complex situation is a clear example for all of their fellow servicemen, and for everyone who has chosen to devote their lives to protecting our country.
Ivan Zyukin is another of those being decorated today. Mr Zyukin fought in the Great Patriotic War, and did much to develop the Interior Troops over the peacetime years that followed. Today, like many of our war veterans, he is involved in patriotic education for our youth, and also in defending veterans’ rights and social interests. Today, retired major general Ivan Zyukin is receiving the Order of Friendship.
I will name one more name, for reasons you will all understand: colonel of the medical service Andrei Ivashchenko is receiving today the honorary title Merited Doctor of the Russian Federation, but today also happens to be his birthday, and I therefore propose that we take this opportunity to congratulate him and wish him new achievements and professional success.
Once more, I want to congratulate you all on these high state decorations and, of course, on the Interior Troops’ upcoming anniversary. As Commander-in-Chief, I thank all of you for your service.
Presenting state decorations is always a special event, and there is always a special atmosphere at such ceremonies. I want to say again that everyone decorated today here at the Kremlin are people who have already made a personal contribution to our country’s defence. Once more, I want to thank you sincerely for this and say that we will never forget it. We will never forget the great deeds of your comrades, who gave their lives to save the lives of others, their fellow servicemen and civilians, and simply helped their Motherland at a difficult time.
As Commander-in-Chief, and as President, I want to say that we will continue to do everything we can to make the Interior Troops strong and combat-ready, so that service in their ranks will be prestigious and attractive. We have all the possibilities we need for this, including financial resources, and you know that a number of decisions in this area have already been made. But this is not all. We will continue to improve the service pay system of course, and healthcare and social protection provisions too for all who serve in the Interior Troops.
Once again, I thank you immensely for your service. I am sure that I will have the chance to see many of you again when presenting state decorations. Life continues, and our country always needs its defenders. Thank you.