President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, friends, colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Kremlin. Please accept my sincere congratulations on receiving the state decorations.
We have just celebrated May Day, when we talked about labour and its special significance in the development of our country. All of you gathered in this hall today know how to work hard.
I will now say a few words and I will single out some of the award recipients. This is not because I do not want to speak about each of you but simply because of a lack of time. I will begin with the highest state decorations.
I would like to single out Dmitry Kondratyev, who in addition to the Gold Star of the Hero of Russia has been awarded the honorary title of Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Russian Federation. In the course of a lengthy orbital expedition aboard the ISS Dmitry Kondratyev displayed all of his best qualities, bravery and courage, continuing the glorious traditions that have always been inherent in our space programme.
On the eve of the 67th anniversary of Victory in World War II, our relatively new Order of Alexander Nevsky will be awarded to veterans. I would like to mention Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Petrov. He gave over 70 years of service to the Armed Forces, rising from cadet to First Deputy Defence Minister of the Soviet Union. Mr Petrov is still active, he is present at the award ceremony and is keeping busy with valuable historical and patriotic work. This is very good and very important.
The Medal of Honour has been awarded to another World War II veteran, retired Navy Admiral Alexei Sorokin. Today, he continues to work for the Defence Ministry and is actively involved in efforts for the benefit of veterans’ organisations.
I would like to announce that in the run-up to the celebration of Victory in World War II, I have signed an Executive Order on conferring state decorations and the Ushakov Medal on a large group of foreign veterans of World War II. There are many of them and they include citizens of Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. They were members of the legendary Northern Convoys and made a great contribution to our shared victory. I believe that during the celebrations we should remember both Russian and foreign heroes who helped us to achieve the Great Victory.
There are many deserving people here. Among them are professionals from many diverse fields, such as scientists, industry experts, doctors, researchers and workers – all decent and highly professional people. I hope that your story of success will be an example to a large number of people. As I see it, that is the educational aspect of the awards ceremony.
I would like to address another issue. State decorations signify the state’s special appreciation of an individual’s achievements. This system of state decorations should be further improved. To give us a wide range of possible state decorations that distinguish our country from the others, I have signed an Executive Order introducing a new award, the Order of St Catherine the Great Martyr, and a special distinction For a Good Deed. These state decorations will be conferred on Russian and foreign citizens for outstanding contributions to peacekeeping, charity and humanitarian efforts. This order and distinction will be awarded to people actively working in this field. I have also signed an Executive Order on awarding several highly deserving women. This Executive Order will be published.
That is all I wanted to share with you at the beginning. Once again, congratulations to all of you.
Dmitry Medvedev: Friends,
The award ceremony is drawing to a close. Once again, I sincerely congratulate you on receiving the state decorations. It is always a pleasure to receive awards but it is especially nice now, in this period between two holidays. Everybody is in good spirits at this time of spring and new hope. I am absolutely certain that whatever field you work in, you will continue to serve our country and our people, and will help them in different ways: to realise their potential, in critical situations, to succeed in science and education, technology, sports, in the workplace and in the Armed Forces. All this is extremely important but it is equally important that when young people look at you they should choose you as their life models.
We sometimes find it awkward to talk about setting a good example because it seems to have fallen out of fashion, and some may accuse us of whitewashing reality whereas life is much more complex and contradictory. Nevertheless, all of you are hugely successful and sought-after people. I would very much like our young people to look up to you and then Russia will have plenty of achievements in literature, the arts and education, as well as in nuclear weapons, which we have not given up and which are certain to come in useful one day. We are not planning to use them but we should have them because Russia is a big country, a complex country, and we must be able to appreciate and defend it.
I wish you a peaceful sky, I wish you happiness and good spirits and once again congratulate you on receiving the state decorations.