President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, comrades, veterans, friends and colleagues,
We are meeting on the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day. I congratulate all those who served in the Armed Forces or are in the service now on this truly national holiday. My congratulations to all those who dedicated their lives to defending their country and who serve as an epitome of honour and dedication to one’s country.
Military service has always been a pillar of Russian statehood. The Army and Navy have always firmly defended its national interests, maintaining peace and stability and, if necessary, firmly withstanding any attack and gaining victory. Today we pay our respect and express gratitude to them for their steadfastness, dignity and unparalleled devotion to their home country.
We are proud of all those who for centuries selflessly defended Russia’s freedom and independence: ancient Russian warriors, militiamen of 1612, heroes of the battle at Borodino, officers and men of World War I – all those, who fought in great battles and on nameless heights, who saved their Fatherland and demonstrated through their deeds what being a true patriot is about. There are veterans of the Great Patriotic War in this hall. We will never forget that it was you who defeated Nazism and brought Victory to the world. You saved life on the planet for the sake of creation and love, for the sake of the future of your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Today’s army and navy preserve and develop the best traditions, such as morale, confidence in victory and the understanding of their great duty and the moral value of military service.
Russia is a peaceful democratic state. We are convinced that international problems and conflicts should be resolved by political rather than military means. It is mainly due to this approach that Russia has managed to stop a number of tragic developments, such as the events around the Republic of Syria. However, the world today remains unstable; the area of potential conflict is expanding. In these conditions, we should be vigilant and remain prepared to defend Russia and its citizens regardless of how the situation may develop. Therefore, the combat readiness of our Army and Navy remain the most important national security factors.
We are consistently working on the new features of the Armed Forces. The quality of troop management and their training have improved. We have raised the potential of our aerospace defence system and navy. The troops are being regularly supplied with the latest armaments.
We will continue to increase the potential of our Armed Forces and all organisations responsible for the country’s security. We will provide housing and improve the healthcare system; we will create an up-to-date and comfortable infrastructure in military towns and will generally raise the social status of our servicemen.
I have to say, however, that the prestige of military service does not rest solely on the state. It is formed by the system itself, by the servicemen, and primarily by the officers, who have always been a pillar of the army and navy, of Russia itself. Today officers, commanders of all levels are the main force, the soul of all our reform. The successful modernisation of the Armed Forces is directly linked to their competence and persistence, their ability to think progressively and to implement tasks efficiently. Today’s generation of Russian officers faces tasks on a new level. They undoubtedly serve as an example of a responsible and honest attitude to the fate of the entire nation.
I would like to once again congratulate you on the upcoming holiday. Thank you for your service. I would also like to extend my warmest wishes to your families and friends, to all those who love and support you, who are always there for you.
I wish you health, prosperity and success.
Thank you for your attention.