Mr Gergiev has been awarded the decoration for his great contribution to developing Russian and world music and theatre and for his many years of creative work.
Mr Putin also congratulated Mr Gergiev on his fifty-fifth birthday, sending a message of congratulations, which reads, in particular:
“In Russia and beyond you are known as one the outstanding musicians of our times, a conductor endowed with exceptional and original talent, immense creative energy and irreproachable artistic taste.
Your efforts to preserve and develop in every way the finest traditions of Russian culture, your fruitful organisational work, and your considerable contribution to strengthening international humanitarian ties deserve our sincere respect”.
Valery Gergiev is one of the world’s leading conductors. He has been principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 1995 and was principal guest conductor at the Metropolitan Opera from 1997 to 2002. Since January 1, 2007, Mr Gergiev has been principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.