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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, friends,
I warmly congratulate everyone who will be awarded state decorations today. Thank you for your outstanding creative and professional achievements. Your accomplishments have brought success to our whole nation, and not only to you personally. A great deal of effort went into your achievements, years of hard work and sometimes very courageous, highly moral actions.
We have representatives of various professions here in this hall, as we usually do when presenting state decorations: workers, farmers, military officers, cultural figures, scientists and government officials. I would like to name some of those present.
The first is one of the best test pilots, Sergei Bogdan, who has been awarded the title Hero of Russia. He has mastered more than 50 types and modifications of aircraft and made a major contribution to the development of Russian military aircraft.
The Order of Alexander Nevsky will be awarded today to Great Patriotic War veteran, Marshall of the Soviet Union Sergei Sokolov. Mr Sokolov celebrated his 100th birthday recently, and he gave almost 80 of those years to service in the Armed Forces, starting as a cadet at the Defence Ministry school, and today he is an advisor to the Defence Minister of Russia.
State decorations will be presented to heads of the largest education and research centres. Their academic achievements and remarkable organisational talents are making a significant contribution to the development of innovation in our science and education, which is vital for Russia’s competitiveness. I congratulate director of the National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute Mikhail Kovalchuk, Director General of the design bureau Khimavtomatika Vladimir Rachuk and the presidents of several leading Russian universities.
”Your accomplishments have brought success to our whole nation, and not only to you personally. A great deal of effort went into your achievements, years of hard work and very courageous, highly moral actions.“
The training of qualified personnel, as well as their subsequent achievements are not possible without skilled workers, without those who work in high technology industries with very complex equipment and continue upgrading their skills. This is exactly how many of those present here work, in particular, blast furnace worker Igor Dranga, fitter Vladimir Semendyaev and operator Vladimir Vasenin.
There are also many industries that, apart from high professional skills, also require personal courage. Today I would like to honour the merits of Rosatom employee Galina Kazakova, whose highly professional and decisive actions prevented radioactive contamination and environmental damage. She has been awarded the Order of Courage.
Some of the people present in this hall do not need a special introduction. I warmly congratulate composer Oscar Feltsman, actresses Vera Vasilyeva and Anastasiya Vertinskaya, and singer Diana Gurtskaya. I am glad to see top officials and executives among the awardees: State Duma Deputy Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Director General of ITAR-TASS Vitaly Ignatenko, both of whom are also well known in our country.
Dear friends, next year, in accordance with the classical historiography, our country will be celebrating the 1150th anniversary of its establishment, the anniversary of Russian statehood. Over the centuries many great cultural, professional and martial traditions were fostered in our country, and those traditions were created by many generations of ordinary people who loved their country and tried to contribute to its development. I am sure that all of you present in this hall are just as fully aware of your responsibility to our large and very beautiful homeland.
I warmly congratulate you once again and suggest that we move on to the awards ceremony.
Dear friends, I would like to offer my warm congratulations once again. There is always a special atmosphere in this hall during the presentation of awards, although I don’t think Mr Zhirinovsky is quite right when he says that this is the only place in the country where everything is always all right. Sometimes things get tough here and I have to chastise someone and have to hear very unpleasant things, although we don’t give each other awards at those times but stick to discussing various problems. But this does not change the essence of today's event. Today the atmosphere here is special, as highly outstanding people have gathered here today.
I listened to the speeches, which is always very interesting, and some remarks etched in my memory. I noticed, for example, that my employment record book is very similar to one of those mentioned here. The first entry in my employment book also says “janitor”, and the last one for my current post is President. (Applause.) I had a job as a janitor when I was a student at university, and that is when I got the employment book.
One more thing, on a serious note. Of course, awards are not the decisive factor in a country’s development. A country develops through the achievements of those who receive the awards: professional accomplishments, achievements in humanities, in technology, in business, in medicine — in short, in every walk of life, including the efforts of state officials. Somebody said quite rightly earlier that their efforts often pass unnoticed but they are essential for their country. And, despite the fact that officials often get the blame, without them life would be impossible, so all we need is for them to work effectively. What is crucial is that in difficult and critical periods of our country’s development we must unite to achieve common goals, to consolidate our efforts for the future of our great state.
It seems to me that despite the complexity of modern life, that is what the atmosphere in our country is like at the moment and it allows us to come together to achieve major goals. We are not scattered in different directions, we are facing challenges but we can address them together.
And one last thing. Mr Feltsman said: ”I sometimes visit this hall.“ I want to invite all of you to visit this hall more often.
I congratulate you on being awarded state decorations.