Present at the gala reception in the Kremlin were honours graduates of the General Staff Academy, the Military University of the Defence Ministry, Peter the Great Military Academy of Strategic Missile Forces, the Border Academy of the Federal Security Service, the Academy of State Fire Fighting Service of the Emergencies Ministry, Moscow University of the Ministry of the Interior, the higher military educational institutions in St Petersburg, Voronezh, Kostroma, Orel, Smolensk and Tver.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Kremlin and congratulate you on the successful completion of studies. Today we honour the best graduates of military academies and universities. You have passed your exams in military disciplines with top marks, and the Russian army needs such modern-minded, educated and highly motivated officers.
Our meeting is taking place in the Moscow Kremlin, which keeps the memory of the legendary events of 1612 and 1812. Here, on the walls of the St George Hall, are carved the names of the heroes and units that covered themselves with glory in military campaigns. It is the highest honour and great responsibility to be the successors of such a centuries-old tradition and history of great feats of arms, to serve your Fatherland and to defend your homeland and its people.
I am certain that every one of you understands that very well. You must be a model of professionalism and integrity, a true moral authority for soldiers and your subordinates. You should always keep in mind that true officers must not only fulfil their duty in good faith but they must love the Armed Forces, be attentive and honourable towards their subordinates and believe that serving in the Armed Forces is their life's work.
”True officers must not only fulfil their duty in good faith but they must love the Armed Forces, be attentive and honourable towards their subordinates and believe that serving in the Armed Forces is their life's work.“
The officer corps is the backbone of the Russian Armed Forces. Our army’s combat readiness, its morale, cohesion of military groups, the results of combat training and efficient development of new technology, which our troops are receiving more and more of, are directly dependent on you.
Our top priorities must be the creation of a modern army and strengthening Russia’s national security. Russia has never allowed and will not allow anyone to talk to it in a language of force. The task of the entire military organisation is to guarantee peace, protect the interests and sovereignty of our country, promptly and adequately respond to any threat, no matter where it comes from. Let me stress that when building our defence policy, we will focus on the latest military trends, use them as a basis for continued modernisation of the Armed Forces, and consistently give the Armed Forces new features.
Today many changes are taking place right before our eyes in our army and navy. New units and army bases are deployed, divisions and allied forces are conducting intense combat training involving ocean campaigns and extensive joint operations.
A new branch of the Armed Forces – the Aerospace Defence Troops – took up combat duty on December 1, 2011. Naturally, the requirements to officers and to each serviceman are going to increase in these circumstances. A modern commander must keep pace with the times, continue improving his knowledge and skills. I would like to quote the words of General Mikhail Dragomirov, one of the heroes of the 1877–1878 Balkan liberation campaign of the Russian Army: “An officer must work continuously and persistently if he wants to be worthy of his rank“.
You must have perfect command of the military science, the latest weaponry and technology, be able to teach all this to your subordinates and educate them in the spirit of patriotism, respect for military traditions, their unit and the unwritten laws of military comradeship. A commander must lead by example in everything, from the level of competence to military ethics. I am certain that the knowledge and skills you have mastered at the military institutions of higher education will serve as a reliable guide to you.
”Our top priorities must be the creation of a modern army and strengthening Russia’s national security. Russia has never allowed and will not allow anyone to talk to it in a language of force.“
Russia's national security is not determined solely by the potential of the Armed Forces. A crucial role is played by the law enforcement agencies and special services, whose representatives are also present in this hall today. You are at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, extremism and crime, for you are responsible for strengthening stability and order in society, as well as effective anti-corruption efforts. This is a difficult challenge that requires new approaches, modern knowledge and appropriate motivation.
In turn, the state will continue to improve social benefits for servicemen. They must be fully adequate to your great responsibility, pressures and risk. Starting this year, we have nearly tripled the service pay for Armed Forces servicemen and Interior Ministry troops. From January 1, 2013 we will increase the pay for other law enforcement agencies: Emergencies Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Federal Guard Service and GUSP [Main Directorate for Special Programmes], as well as the military prosecutors and military investigation agencies of the Investigative Committee. We will consistently address one of the most pressing issues and provide housing, including for young officers.
Permanent housing for military personnel will be provided in full in 2013. The funds allocated for this purpose are sufficient. Hopefully, the Defence Ministry will succeed in completing this task, and by 2014 we will establish a modern service housing stock. In addition, the programme on building new and upgrading the existing military bases will be implemented. Even the most remote garrisons must have decent, modern conditions of service and for the life of the officers’ families, for the employment of women, including the creation of the necessary infrastructure.
Comrades, together we will tackle major challenges, develop our armed forces and strengthen Russia’s national security. The state and our people believe in you, count on you, on your knowledge, your professionalism, determination and courage. Be worthy of the rank of a Russian officer.
Once again I congratulate you on the completion of your studies. I wish you health and every success in your service, and happiness and prosperity to your loved ones. I propose a toast to Russian officers of our valiant Armed Forces, to the welfare and prosperity of our nation.