The ceremony took place at the State Kremlin Palace during the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Russian television broadcasting.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends,
I congratulate all of you on this remarkable date, the 80th anniversary of Russian television. 80 years is both a long and a short span of time, but in any case, television history is inextricably linked with scientific and technological achievements. We are proud that the world’s first television programme was created almost a century ago by Russian physicist Boris Rozing. Plain lines running across a small screen were transmitted to another screen some distance away.
I can imagine the sensation it caused at the time. It must have had a much greater impact than when we put on special glasses and watch 3D-movies, which is fantastic too, but it doesn’t impress us anything like that. It was certainly a huge achievement and no one could have predicted what it would lead to. Scientific and technological achievements are often very far ahead of their practical implementation, of what they become in everyday life.
I recently looked at some forecasts made in the 1960s and 1970s. Everyone was sure that in this decade we would fly to the Moon, with regular package tours widely available. Yet it never even occurred to anyone that we would have mobile communication devices that would let us watch TV on the metro or in a car. The creative component is often unpredictable.
A unique contribution to the development of television broadcasting was also made by Vladimir Zvorykin, Semyon Katayev, Alexander Konstantinov, Pavel Shmakov and many other Russian and foreign [Russian-born] scientists and inventors. They were all pioneers and enthusiasts. They promoted progressive ideas and their progressive ideas were embodied in real life. Even the lives of those people remain an example for us.
The research underway today will shape the television for 20, 30 and 50 years from now. And there can be no doubt that television will continue to exist because no matter what new technologies or information and communication means appear, television – both traditional and at the same time not traditional for the vast majority of people on our planet – can never be replaced.
Present here are long-standing professionals of television broadcasting, legendary people who established traditions, the people who were and some still are the authors of the best-known, most-quoted and most popular programmes. We would like to thank them for everything they have done.
Television is a technology with a complex destiny. It always plays a special role in the times of change. Live broadcasts of the most important events have created and established some of the modern traditions that have shaped the political system we have today with all its considerable advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is not only the evil politicians that are responsible for everything that happens in our country but also television, for which many thanks to you.
There is no doubt that television has a great future. We are on the threshold of an information revolution, or rather, it is already in progress. And the television revolution that is happening right before our eyes and with our participation will create entirely new conditions for the development of television in the future. In just a few years our entire country will have digital TV.
I just had a meeting with older people, with pensioners, and they told me that only three TV channels are available in some cities and they want to watch football or some other things. We, the people who live in capital cities, do not understand this, because we already have a huge number of channels. Nevertheless, the digital space, or the TV coverage space, which is the same thing now, is very patchy and fragmented in our country. So it is a very positive thing that the transition to digital broadcasting standards will make it possible for the absolute majority, for 100% of our people to watch the products broadcast by different networks, both Russian and foreign, and they will be broadcast in high definition.
I worked on this issue when I worked in the Government Cabinet, and I think that we were right to follow this trend. There were different approaches at the time. Some said it cost too much – and nobody ever has too much money – so let’s put it off until later. There was a danger that we would have remained the only country watching the same things we did years ago when the rest of the world watches digital television. That would have been wrong.
That is all I wanted to say before expressing our gratitude to all of you for the work you are doing. I sincerely congratulate you on the anniversary and propose that we move on to the awards ceremony.