Lyudmila Lashchenova, chairwoman of the Russian community in Moldova and Mariana Papic, director of Pavel Rovinski general school (Montenegro) were awarded the Order of Friendship. Translator and literature specialist Alicia Joanna Volodzko-Butkevich (Poland), Natalya Kayun, lecturer at Abkhazia State University, and Sun Yuhua, rector of Dalian Foreign Languages University, were awarded the Pushkin Medal.
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Speech at a reception marking National Unity Day
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Congratulations to you all on National Unity Day. This is a holiday with particular moral significance, an occasion that returns us to history’s big lessons and reaffirms the importance of preserving our homeland’s sovereignty and independence.
The Time of Troubles was a difficult and tragic page in Russia’s history and will forever serve as a warning to future generations. It is not enough to know the chronicle of these events. The main thing is to remember how close our country came then to the brink of danger and destruction, and realise how great an abyss of ruin and loss we face if we neglect national interests and forget our moral foundations and unique identity.
Today, we pay tribute and deepest respect to those who saved Russia back then, who made Russia’s pain their own, were devoted to their homeland and took responsibility for its future. They included spiritual leaders and statesmen, people of different classes, ethnic groups and religions.
Our people fought turmoil and political chaos with unity and the highest understanding of civic and patriotic duty. This feeling of unity and solidarity became a reliable foundation for the Russian state.
This kind of unbreakable national unity has helped Russia on more than one occasion to defend its freedom and national independence, overcome troubles and hardship and achieve truly global triumphs. Today, society’s consolidation for the sake of achieving our development goals is the main condition for our progress and gives us confidence and strength on this road we have taken.
The Russian people and Russian language have always played a tremendous unifying role over Russia’s centuries of history. The Russian language was the main form of expression and bearer of national unity, cementing together the vast Russian world that stretches far beyond our country’s borders. This Russian world was not built on principles of ethnic exclusion, but was always open to anyone who considers themselves a part of Russia and considers Russia their home.
It is tradition to invite our compatriots from abroad to this reception marking National Unity Day. I want to thank you sincerely for strengthening multifaceted ties with the historic motherland, spreading Russian culture, and paying such attention to preserving and developing the Russian language. It is very important that this language is heard abroad and that our children and grandchildren love it and understand its wealth and greatness and its value for building up cooperation between peoples.
Once again, I congratulate everyone most warmly on this holiday and wish you success and well-being.
Thank you very much for your attention.