The award ceremony took place in the Constantine Palace in Strelna.
The celebrated Russian writer and essayist who received the award had turned 90 on 1 January 2009. On that date the President telephoned him to congratulate him on his birthday, before sending him a congratulatory telegram. Several days before his birthday, the head of state signed a decree awarding the writer with the highest state honour, the Order of St Andrew the Apostle.
Dmitry Medvedev came to St Petersburg to participate in events marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Leningrad from the Fascist blockade.