The President discussed social support issues with the war and home front veterans.
Mr Medvedev also attended a concert marking the 70th anniversary of the historic 1941 parade.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Veterans and friends,
First of all, I want to congratulate you all most warmly on this Day of Military Glory, the day when we remember the special parade that took place here in Moscow on November 7 exactly 70 years ago now at an exceedingly difficult time for our country. As we know, Hitler planned to take Moscow on precisely that day and essentially mark our Motherland’s defeat.
That parade’s significance lies not so much in all that happened next, but in that it was this particular event that demonstrated our people’s will to achieve victory. This parade was the symbol of our entire country’s steadfast spirit, because the enemy was indeed at the approaches to Moscow at that moment, just a few kilometres from the city.
And it was in that extremely difficult situation that the country’s leadership took the decision to hold the parade, which raised people’s morale and political self-awareness and displayed our people’s very best qualities.
Another parade took place today. I hope that you, the veterans, had the chance to watch it either on television or at Red Square. It was a good thing to hold this event because events of this kind always have symbolic importance.
On my way here I saw that everything looked very respectable indeed with military vehicles from the war years, uniforms specially sewn for the drivers, in short, just like it all looked in the newsreel footage. Then we saw the comparison, the way it looked in 1941, and the way it looked today. It was very similar. The difference of course is that today our country is at peace, while back then it stood at a very dramatic moment in its history.
Once more, I want to thank you for everything you did, for everything your generation did, and I want to say a few words about our lives today.
I will start with one of the symbolic issues that the veterans always raise – restoration of monuments. During the preparations for celebrating the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War we did restore a large number of monuments.
It is always particularly heartening for me to see, during my travels around the country, that no matter which region I visit, practically everywhere, in big towns and small, the local residents, be they the bosses or the ordinary people, say that they have such and such a monument in their town that was not in such a good state anymore, but that recently they restored it. This is very good to see.
Let me tell you too, that this work will certainly continue because we have approved a federal programme that will provide the funding needed to restore war memorials over the 2011–2015 period. A large sum – 2.5 billion rubles – has been allocated for this programme and will be used to subsidise the regions so that work on restoring monuments continues.
Monuments are the material bearer of history. People are all mortal of course, as we all realise, but our monuments must remain to bear witness to past events. Today, we judge events of the 1812 war, for example, or other moments in our country’s history from the monuments that stand, and the same must go for the monuments commemorating the Great Patriotic War. I think this is extremely important.
Equally important is to help our veterans and give them comfortable lives today. You all know the decisions we have made over these last years, and I just want to say that in accordance with the Executive Order I signed on May 7, 2008, more than 185,000 Great Patriotic War veterans have improved their housing situation over the last four years.
I think this was a very important programme (in some places it is still not completed yet) if only because it is part of the duty that the state authorities have towards all those who defended our homeland.
We will continue too, of course, our social support for war widows, and will continue to raise pensions, indexing them within the monthly monetary payments framework, and we will continue our efforts in other social support areas too. I want to assure you that all of the necessary funds have been allocated in the budget for this.
Medical treatment for our veterans is a subject requiring special attention. Healthcare centres are being equipped with new equipment now, and I hope that this will help to improve diagnostic work. Incidentally, starting from next year, all veterans will also be able to undergo a more thorough general health check-up and receive the necessary treatment and rehabilitation care based on the results.
Another issue that might seem minor in some ways, but for the veterans is very important, is that of prescriptions. A year ago, I gave the instruction to simplify the procedures for issuing prescriptions, shorten the time it takes, and issue them with a longer validity period. It would be very useful if you can tell me if this is really working now, or if there are any problems here. This would be useful for you and for all of the many veterans in the country.
Of course, the authorities in many cities are making efforts now, but I want to note the efforts made by Moscow’s city officials because Moscow really is an enormous city. Aside from the 12 million or more people who live here, there are also a huge number of people who visit, a large number of veterans too, coming for various events, and then we also have the Moscow Region right next door too.
Of course, veterans’ daily living conditions and the efforts made to resolve the biggest issues affecting living conditions in Moscow play a big part in determining people’s general mood. I know that Moscow is making a big effort in this area and I hope that this work will continue.
Once more, I congratulate you sincerely on this special day in our country’s history, this great day when the parade took place on Red Square that showed the Red Army’s superior spirit and ultimately helped us on our road to victory.