Vladimir Putin presented the 2022 Volunteer of the Year statuette to Vladimir Taranenko, head of the DPR Citizen Patrol whose team made arrangements for evacuation in the Republic and helped peaceful civilians.
The #WeAreTogether Forum is taking place at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall on December 5–7. This year, about 10,000 volunteers from all regions and 45 countries are taking part in its programmes.
The President supported the idea of establishing this award during a meeting with the national We Are Together volunteer campaign in 2020.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
Greetings to the participants and guests of this wonderful event, the #WeAreTogether forum. It is now an international event, and I welcome our guests. I would like to offer congratulations to our volunteers, the people… You know, I do not want the words that I am going to say sound like some kind of a run-of-the-mill message. It is hard to come up with words that can accurately convey our feelings towards the people who selflessly follow their hearts, help critically ill patients in hospices, volunteer at major sports events, maintain law and order, take care of nature, and, in general, devote a significant part of their lives to helping other people who need help. And they know when someone needs their support.
Our volunteers, 21 million of them, make up over 15 percent of the population of our vast country. This is an army, a huge army.
Today, it is particularly important and valuable that you support our men in the special military operation who are carrying out the important mission of supporting people in Donbass and Novorossiya and are contributing to the battle against Neo-Nazism. I want to say that your help for the families of our men, their parents, wives and children is critically important. I bow low to you for doing this and thank you very much.
Without a doubt, we will spare no effort to support the volunteer movement and make sure that the names of the most eligible volunteers – there are many eligible volunteers – are publicly known. With the special military operation, many of you went almost to the front line to help people there. You put your health and life on the line to help other people. This is amazing because no one required you to do this, but volunteers followed their hearts and went there. The country must know the names of these people and, of course, they deserve the highest award.
The way you go about your lives makes up what we know as national identity. This helps preserve our national identity which underlies Russia's might.
I wish you happy Volunteer Day and all the best.
Today, we will do a small thing that we must do to mark this day and present the award to the winner.
Thank you very much.
(Presenting the award.)
Vladimir Taranenko: I want to thank the President and the people of our vast country for supporting the volunteer movement, for supporting Donbass and for the fact that Donbass has finally found its way home.
We are doing much, and this award proves that we are on the right track and we are doing the right things. I do not say “we” for nothing. This award belongs not only to me, but to a large team – a large team that includes the DPR Citizen Patrol and volunteers. This team also includes the Popular Front and people like Sergei Samokhin, Yevgeny Melnikov, Vladislav Tanaseychuk, Vitaly Dunaytsev, Dmitry Mezentsev, Nikolai Stepanov, to name a few, people I had the privilege – and I am very proud of this – of working shoulder to shoulder with. I am moving forward with them, the true patriots of our Motherland.
Vladimir Putin: The word “volunteer” is an international word. The original Russian word for volunteer, dobrovolets, implies a person of free or good will and has a deep meaning. A person of free or good will is someone who does something of value for other people of his or her own free will. This is what the entire movement and each of you are all about.
Thank you very much. Happy Volunteer Day! All the best.