By tradition, the ceremony took place in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St Catherine Hall.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.
I wish a warm welcome at the Kremlin to the outstanding Russian citizens present before us, people whose services, achievements and talents our country is recognising today. It gives me great pleasure to present you with these high state decorations.
Your achievements and successes have all contributed to developing all of our country, developing Russia. They have tremendous social importance, provide fine examples of constructive work, open up new horizons for development and for improving various aspects of our activities, pave the way for real breakthroughs into the future, and in many respects define the face of Russia today and its place in the world.
I have no doubt that all of you love this country, and that this feeling is not just some grand ritual phrase, but is your cause and your entire life’s meaning. Throughout the ages true patriotism was always about precisely this deep awareness of being personally part of the country’s destiny, this sense of civic responsibility and desire to devote one’s talents to Russia and its people, and this readiness to always be with the Motherland, whether in the act of creation, or during times of trial and adversity.
We see examples of this spirit in the heroic events of 1612 that ended the Time of Troubles, and in the Patriotic War of 1812. We are marking the anniversaries of these great historic milestones this year, and this gives further reason to speak of the unbroken flow of our history through the centuries, and the importance of treating its every page with respect, remembering our common heritage, treasuring the names of our country’s heroes and achievers, and preserving our national and ethnic traditions.
It is symbolic that today, in the Kremlin hall of the same name, for the first time in many decades we are presenting the Order of St Catherine the Martyr, a newly revived decoration that dates from the time of the Russian Empire, and also the recently established decoration, For Good Deeds.
“Those being decorated today include teachers, doctors, production workers, people who come from all professions and trades. All of you have won the appreciation and recognition of your colleagues and hometown fellows, and of everyone for whom you work and who benefit from the fruits of your labour, perseverance and talent. People like yourselves have always been this country’s backbone. ”
These high decorations recognise peace-promoting, humanitarian, and philanthropic services. Today, we present the Order of St Catherine the Martyr to Mother Superior Nikolaya of the Svyato-Nikolsky Chernoostrovsky Convent in Maloyaroslavets for her big contribution to charity and social work.
Russia has always taken pride in those capable of performing true great deeds, those worthy of the very highest distinction. This goes for service in peace, and in war too. Russia has always taken pride in those moved by conscience, honour, courage, and personal bravery.
I particularly note today the names of those receiving the high title of Hero of Russia. This decoration is awarded to test pilots and cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyayev, and also to Corporal Artem Katunkin of the Interior Ministry Special Forces.
It is also my pleasure to welcome outstanding and deservedly renowned figures from our cultural, arts, and academic life: Iosif Kobzon, Boris Eifman, Karen Shakhnazarov, and Yevgeny Velikhov.
Those being decorated today include teachers, doctors, production workers, people who come from all professions and trades. All of you have won the appreciation and recognition of your colleagues and hometown fellows, and of everyone for whom you work and who benefit from the fruits of your labour, perseverance and talent. People like yourselves have always been this country’s backbone.
Friends! Russia needs and values your work and your contribution to our common cause. Only together can we protect and advance our national interests, develop Russia, and achieve our goals in political, economic, scientific and cultural life, in caring for people, and nurturing their moral health and social wellbeing.
Once again, I congratulate you all on these high decorations and wish you success and all the very best.
Friends, it is only natural that when people receive state decorations they remember their colleagues and say that this recognition is not theirs alone but also that of the teams and the people with whom they work. This is indeed the case, after all, we do not live and work in a vacuum. These words are justified, but at the same time, these decorations are also recognition of your personal services. These are your awards and you have earned them through your labour and talent, your devotion to your work, and your courage and heroism.
Thank you very much. Congratulations to everyone!