In a now traditional annual ceremony at the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St Alexander Hall, Dmitry Medvedev presented the Order of Parental Glory to parents of large families from various parts of Russia: Vladimir, Moscow and Pskov Regions, the Republics of Tatarstan and Khakassia, and Krasnodar, Primorye and Stavropol Territories.
Among those decorated with the order were Lyudmila and Nikolai Nikolenko from Krasnodar Territory, who are raising 25 children – 6 children of their own and 19 foster children. The other large families have no adopted children but have from six to 17 children of their own. Together the eight families receiving the Order of Parental Glory have 88 children.
The Order of Parental Glory was instituted by the Presidential Executive Order of May 13, 2008, and today’s ceremony is the third since the decoration was introduced. Since last year, the parents decorated receive the order itself and also its miniature copy they can wear on special occasions.
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Speech at Ceremony Awarding the Order of Parental Glory to Parents of Large Families
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, friends,
This is a very special ceremony, and it is always with great joy that I take part in this event. It is always a happy event to present decorations in general, and receiving them is no doubt even more of a happy occasion.
The decoration that I will present today – the Order of Parental Glory – is one of our new traditions. Parents of large families did receive decorations in the Soviet times, but those decorations had a somewhat different status. I instituted this new decoration during my first days after taking office as president. That was practically two years ago now, in May 2008. Now it is being awarded for the third time.
I congratulate all of you most sincerely on receiving these decorations, and on International Children’s Day, which took place yesterday, and which has been celebrated around the world for more than sixty years now.
Russia has a centuries-old tradition of large, close-knit families. We have been trying to revive this tradition over recent years, give the family a more important place in life and support motherhood and childhood. I hope that our efforts are producing results, even if only modest results. Of course, we are also putting our efforts into educating children and developing their potential. Through your lives you are setting us examples of the love we need to give our children, and the attitude we need to take towards our families and responsibilities. You set fine examples of family upbringing in general.
Well-known educator Vasily Sukhomlinsky said that the family is the primary environment in which people need to learn to do good.
Here today are large and friendly families that I am sure are raising wonderful children. I will not name all of you – you will be named in accordance with protocol. But I would like to note, for example, Tatyana and Nikolai Saltykov, from Moscow Region, who have 17 children, and the Nikolenko family from Krasnodar Territory, who are not only bringing up six children of their own, but have also offered a real home to 19 foster children. I am sure that all of these children receive the true parental love, the maternal and paternal love, and all the positive emotions that every child needs. I hope that these children will develop their talents in education and sports. Perhaps we will hear from you today about their achievements. I hope they will all do well in their studies and in their future professions. And, as is so important in big families compared to small ones, for obvious reasons, I hope that they will feel their responsibility for their fellow family members and for everything that happens at home.
A while ago, we began carrying out a programme to encourage people to have more children and to support large families. I think this programme is producing results overall.
It makes me very happy to say — given that this is the result of our recent efforts — that our country’s birth rate has started to increase. The first three months of this year saw the births of more than 428,000 children. This is up 1.5 percent on the same period in 2009. Of course we would like to see more rapid change. We would like to see our population increase in accordance with the demographic forecasts that we have been making. I hope in any case that we have succeeded in starting to reverse the very negative demographic trends in which our country was caught for the last two decades. Speaking frankly, that demographic situation promised our country nothing good at all. We have checked those trends now and I hope that we will succeed in really turning the situation around, and families such as yours are making the primary contribution to these efforts.
We still have very many problems to address. I have been actively looking into the issue of kindergartens over these last few days. This problem also arose out of the fundamental changes in our country’s life. We have quite a few regions where there are queues of tens of thousands of children to get places in kindergartens. Of course, we need to cut these queues as much as possible. The instructions have been issued. We also need to work on improving kindergartens’ material provisions and equipment, and change the legal status in cases where needed, — change the legal status of pre-school education centres and their staff.
Dear friends, we are all parents ourselves and know how much moral and physical effort it takes to raise children. This very expression – ‘to raise’ children – an expression that we have traditionally used in Russia, describes very accurately the work of parents, especially in large families. This is indeed a lot of work, but at the same time, there is no greater joy for parents. I am absolutely sure that all of you here today are truly happy parents, and that you have truly happy families.
It is my hope that the number of parents receiving the Order of Parental Glory will increase with every year, and that I and the officials who present decorations on behalf of the president will have these kinds of meetings more often. I will think about this. But right now, I want to congratulate you all once more and wish you all health, success, and happiness, of course. Let’s begin presenting the decorations.
I have nothing to add really, except to say that I am very happy for you. This is a happy occasion, all the more so as it is taking place in such an interesting venue: the Kremlin, the heart of our country. The Kremlin has witnessed many interesting events, and you are now part of one of these events. Today’s ceremony is now a part of our history, and these decorations you have received here today are also past of our history, part of the Kremlin’s chronicles.
I also want to add one more thing. When we first instituted this decoration the families received it as a single decoration. But I think that the role and importance of both parents are equally important in the family, and this is recognised by law too, thus I gave the instruction to have this decoration presented in pairs – one for the mother and one for the father. I say this because I really would like you to wear them, not to leave them just lying around in a box somewhere at home, as is sometimes the case with all kinds of objects, but to show them to people, wear them so that others can see them and follow your example. I think this would be very fitting. Once more, I congratulate you from all my heart.