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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues and friends,
I wish you all a warm welcome and want to start by saying that ceremonies such as this usually bring to the Kremlin very famous people who are in no need of introduction, and also people who are perhaps not so well-known, but have big achievements to their name and have earned themselves a reputation as true professionals in their fields of activity.
Yesterday, almost a third of our country – around 40 million people – celebrated Agriculture Worker’s Day. This year has been better for our farmers than last year, which was an exceptionally tough time. I remind you that the agriculture sector was very hard-hit by the financial crisis and by last year’s drought, but this year has brought a very decent harvest indeed – more than 90 million tons, compared to close to 60 million tons last year. Of course, the credit here goes above all to the people who live and work on the land.
I therefore want to congratulate everyone in the countryside on their professional holiday, and congratulate tractor driver Svyatoslav Ryabinin and machine-operator Viktor Gorbachev on their high decorations.
The people receiving decorations today represent a broad range of fields and include workers who have been in their jobs for decades now, perfecting their craftsmanship. They are modest people; you do not often see their faces on the TV screens or read about them in the press, but they deserve our warmest words and recognition.
Equally deserving of recognition are the heads of state-owned and private companies here today, and indeed all business community members who are doing their part to develop our economy and spread innovation. Gone after all are the days when it was the fashion to denigrate business. Sometimes we need to give business, private sector representatives, recognition for everything they are doing for our country.
Just a couple more words before we start presenting the decorations. The Bolshoi Theatre is set to re-open at the end of October. This is a big and long-awaited event. This theatre is one of our national treasures and a symbol of our country. I visited the theatre recently and saw for myself the tremendous work that has taken place there. The theatre has changed of course, but at the same time it has preserved its main features, and its traditions too, I hope. I want to thank everyone who took part in this work, and I will yet have the chance to do this. Today, I am presenting the Order of Honour to the theatre’s director general, Mr Takhir Iksanov.
I want to address a few warm words too, to those who are educating our children and young people, developing our universities, and advancing our science and learning. Among those being recognised with state decorations today are the people in charge of our country’s science and education, which are one of the most important pillars of Russia’s development.
I congratulate all of you on these deserved decorations. I do not want to spend too much time talking, and so I propose that we now begin the presentation ceremony.
The state decorations presentation ceremony is, of course, very pleasant for everyone. You just feel charged with energy after the speeches, particularly speeches from many of our colleagues coming here from various regions of the country. After all, you understand how distinct and enormous our country is, how complicated its development has been and what major problems still remain to be resolved.
You know, I also recently passed a kind of milestone; as a politician, I have traveled throughout our entire nation for several years, and I have now visited every region in Russia.
I can tell you one thing: any leader of this state is simply obligated to do this, at the very least in order to understand how complicated a mechanism our state is, how different – and at the same time, in many ways, similar – are the people living in this state, as well as the number of hardships we face and the splendid prospects that lie ahead for our nation. The greatest value – I say this with complete sincerity – comes from our people, because even in some occasionally difficult circumstances, they do not lose what is most important, what humans need to remain human: optimism. And this has helped our country live through some exceptionally hard circumstances.
Now, of course, we have our current problems. But at the same time, I am certain that we have absolutely brilliant potential. We simply have to all work hard, each in our own place, demonstrating a good example for our families and the youth. We must learn from professionals. And indeed, the people gathered in this hall today are professionals, each in their field. It is very important to ensure that the significant professional example you are showing everyone around you is spread throughout the territory of our immense homeland. In other words, the power of example was important in the 14th and 15th centuries; it was important in the 20th century, a very complicated time in history; and it is important now. It can never be substituted by anything else.
So I would like to once again sincerely congratulate you and thank you for everything that you have done for our Fatherland.
Thank you very much.