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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Friends,
I am very pleased to be visiting you. I have presented state decorations in various situations, but never before at the KAMAZ facilities.
I remember very well our meeting at the Kremlin in January 2009. Now, we can look back at what we were doing then when a new Silk Way rally idea was just discussed. Now, this rally has come to existence and I even personally attended one of its stages.
This year, there have been many noteworthy events too. You know well how difficult it is to be the best. In general, any victory is literally won with sweat and blood, but what’s even more difficult is to stay the best in any sport, in any race, in any competition.
It is hard to become the first, but it is even harder to stay the first. Besides, those who support you and follow your results, which is our entire nation in fact, have their own expectations. So I would like to tell you that you’ve done a great job. The list of trophies you have won is enormous already, but I hope that there will be new reasons for such meetings, for honouring you and for congratulating you on your new successes.
We have had some discussion of your achievements and agreed that this year has been quite successful as you finished first in Buenos Aires and won your ninth victory at the Dakar rally race. According to specialists, this victory was one of the most difficult, so perhaps you could say a few words about it.
This victory improved our overall national sporting position too, and was a great advertisement for the Russian-made vehicles of which we regretfully have very few top-class examples to be proud of. All of your achievements serve to promote our national accomplishments, and it is great, as it means both testing the new vehicles and promoting our best products which is absolutely necessary for our country.
I would like to sincerely congratulate the entire team, the pilots, the navigators, the mechanics, the engineers – all of you – and, of course, the thousands of employees of the KAMAZ plant, on your success. By awarding these decorations, I am acknowledging everyone who contributed to your outstanding achievements.
I wish to once again warmly congratulate you, and it is a special pleasure for me to do so here. Once more, we believe in you and look forward to presenting more decorations for new achievements. We will all be rooting for you.
Let’s start the award ceremony.