Vladimir Putin opened the ceremony by presenting Mayor of Khabarovsk Alexander Sokolov with the document conferring the title of City of Military Glory on Khabarovsk for courage, fortitude and mass heroism of the city’s defenders in the struggle for the freedom and independence of the Fatherland.
* * *
Speech at a ceremony presenting state decorations
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
I welcome you to the Kremlin and congratulate on the upcoming Defenders of the Fatherland Day.
On the eve of this national holiday I want to present state decorations awarded for bravery, labour, creative achievements, and loyal service to Russia.
I want to start by addressing a few words to all residents of Khabarovsk, which has just received the high title of City of Military Glory. I congratulate everyone in Khabarovsk on this big event.
Khabarovsk was founded in the mid-nineteenth century and became Russia’s real stronghold in the Amur area. Its military and home front efforts during World War II are particularly memorable pages in the city’s history.
Soldiers from the Far East defended Moscow, fought at Leningrad and Stalingrad and stormed Berlin. In Khabarovsk itself people worked at armaments factories and hospitals and were ready at all times to answer the Motherland’s call to take up arms.
The Far East had its own lines to defend too. It was on the Far East borders that the Japanese troops were defeated in Manchuria, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands, bringing World War II to a victorious end. Khabarovsk deserves its place among Russia’s cities of military glory.
”Our entire history and great heritage teach us to honour the courage and achievements of our forefathers, love our Motherland and our people, and know the meaning of true patriotism and not its hollow imitation.“
I take this opportunity to thank everyone who studied the archives and documents and pieced back together the names of our heroes and glorious pages in the history of our cities that are worthy of the honorary title of city of military glory. This is an important and very useful undertaking. Its civic and patriotic value cannot be overestimated, after all pride in our country and the deeds of our forebears begins with knowing the history of our own families and native towns, villages and regions.
I am sure that in strengthening our historic, spiritual, cultural and family traditions we are shaping our future and drawing a surer road for Russia’s national development. Our entire history and great heritage teach us to honour the courage and achievements of our forefathers, love our Motherland and our people, and know the meaning of true patriotism and not its hollow imitation. These are the lessons handed down from one generation to the next, and I am sure that this will always continue.
Those present today have an example before their eyes, no doubt already familiar to them from the media. Here with us today is Zalina Arsanova. She was born and grew up in Malgobek, which also has the title of City of Military Glory. Malgobek’s people heroically defended their region during World War II, and I am sure they would be proud of this young girl. Last August, she protected her six-year-old brother from bandits’ bullets by shielding him with her own body. She was only 12 at the time. For her selfless and brave act she has been awarded the Medal for Courage.
Friends, those receiving awards today include army and navy officers, scientists and clergymen, teachers and workers, and outstanding cultural figures and sportspeople.
I bow low before Natalya Sarganova, who over the last 30 years has raised 35 foster children as well as her own two children, who have followed in their mother’s footsteps and are now raising 9 children who were without families of their own.
Workers from the industrial and agriculture sectors and leading Russian companies are also receiving deserved recognition today, including employees of Gazprom, famous throughout the world, which celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday.
Here today are people from different professions and generations, some of them already famous, others just at the start of their careers. What you all share is that your achievements and efforts were made in Russia’s name, for Russia’s sake. You put your labour and talent into the service of others and show that only a generous spirit, care for one’s fellows, and involvement in our people’s destiny and our country’s future can fill the lives of each of us with true meaning and help us to resolve even the most difficult tasks and surmount even the greatest challenges.
”Your achievements and efforts were made in Russia’s name, for Russia’s sake. You put your labour and talent into the service of others and show that only a generous spirit, care for one’s fellows, and involvement in our people’s destiny and our country’s future can fill the lives of each of us with true meaning.“
Once more, I congratulate you on the upcoming holiday and on your deserved awards and titles. I wish all the very best.
Thank you very much.
In concluding today’s ceremony, allow me to once again congratulate Khabarovsk and its people on receiving the honorary title of City of Military Glory. I know how much has been done by war veterans and young people, who engaged in work in the archives, to immortalise the memory of what was achieved by earlier generations. I want to once again thank them for doing this.
Naturally, I would like to address special words of gratitude to all the award recipients: for your work, for your successes, for the results of your efforts. I cannot even list all the sectors in which you are working and which you represent so worthily. I want to express my sincerest gratitude to you and wish you success.
It is a particular pleasure for me to see representatives here from the brotherly nation of Ukraine. I would like to use exactly those words – brotherly Ukraine – because with our endless disputes concerning gas, we sometimes forget what is most important, that we truly are brotherly peoples.
Here in Russia, we do not make any distinction between Russians and Ukrainians. We love the distinctive Ukrainian culture, we love the Ukrainian language and its songs, we love everything related to Ukraine. Of course, it was a pleasure today to hear similarly kind words regarding the Russian language in Ukraine and such concern for Russian-speaking people. We, too, always think about this. But I would like to say that we have no less respect toward the Ukrainian language; we have no intention of getting involved in Ukraine’s domestic policy polemics and we expect common sense to prevail. We are equally respectful of members of various political parties and movements in Ukraine. We count on just one thing: that this common sense will push us to work together for the good of our nations and our peoples.
In conclusion, I would like to once again focus on the award recipients. Naturally, each of you has had help from work collectives, from years of work with colleagues who helped you in one way or another and supported you, but without a doubt, today’s events, today’s awards, represent the Russia’s focus on your personal achievements.
Thank you very much for your work and your efforts!
I sincerely congratulate you on the upcoming holiday – Defender of the Fatherland Day – and wish you success.
Thank you very much.