Dmitry Medvedev presented orders, medals and certificates conferring honorary titles to more than 40 Russians.
Test pilot Oleg Kononenko and cosmonaut Maksim Surayev received the Hero of Russia Stars.
Among those who received orders and medals are famous scientists, public and religious figures, actors, filmmakers, workers and journalists.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, friends,
Happy New Year! I would like to wish success, happiness and good health to all of you and your loved ones. Tomorrow we will celebrate the start of a new year and a new decade and we all hope that the coming decade will be successful for our country.
The past decade has not been too bad for our nation, either. On the contrary, I believe that we have made some significant changes in the past ten years. Of course, much more still needs to be done. We face many challenges in the economy, in the social and humanitarian sphere, the political organisation of society, as well as science and education, where we must reclaim the leading positions our country had in the past. This will require a very serious consolidation of entire society.
Society is an abstract subject on the one hand, but at the same time it is just a lot of people taken together, some of whom are an inspiration for the rest of us, examples for us to follow, people we listen to, love or even argue with – they are symbolic figures for our society. We have people like that among us in this hall.
I would like to say that our state, our vast country has been historically populated by representatives of many different nationalities, religions, cultures and traditions. Our task is to preserve peace and tranquillity in our country. We have a very strong tradition of living together. What unites us today is that we all want to make our country strong, following a certain development path and we want the people who live here to be happy. Therefore, support for each other is extremely important now and will continue to be important in the future.
By tradition, I will now name some of the people who are present in this hall but not all of them. Our colleague will call out all the names when he reads out the executive orders. But I would like to say that all of you gathered here are without doubt outstanding people.
First, I will name those whose work is associated with danger and is extremely necessary for us to develop our country’s scientific and industrial potential: I mean the work of test pilots and cosmonauts. The people who choose this profession have a vocation. Heroes of Russia Stars are awarded to test pilot Oleg Kononenko and cosmonaut Maksim Surayev.
Without a doubt, all of our efforts in space make us a very strong country, show that we have potential for development and for tackling various challenges. Therefore, this research is absolutely vital, and those who will receive the highest state awards today are true heroes.
This is especially true because, as my experience shows, it sometimes becomes necessary to show political will in order to decorate someone. It happens. All people are subject to various passions and do not always find the courage to present state awards to their colleagues. We have a President for that, after all.
Our country’s modernisation is a multifaceted task that is designed for a considerable period of time. Of course, we will not be able to rebuild our country and turn it into a completely modern state with a rapidly growing economy in just one or two years. In fact, that is not our objective at all, but we must try to speed up the pace and a key role here belongs to science. I am happy to welcome member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Ashot Sarkisov and President of the Russian Research Centre Kurchatov Institute Evgeny Velikhov. They are both well-known people in our country and I would like to say that these awards reflect our shared commitment to strengthen our country’ technological base and promote innovative economic development.
There is no need to introduce the next group of people who are to receive awards today because they are widely known, they often appear on television and movie screens. I will not name all of them but only those who are sitting in the front row: Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, Nikita Mikhalkov, Lyudmila Gurchenko, Gerard Vasilyev. Our entire nation knows and loves them.
In the Year of the Teacher we cannot bypass members of this profession. I recently attended the closing ceremony of Year of the Teacher, and I am very pleased that we have held this event. It is not just some formality or a set of ceremonial events; no, our goal was to draw attention to the teaching profession, to pour money into education and make sure that the money is properly spent, to give a new lease on life to the Education Priority National Project, which had been launched earlier to upgrade our education system. And I think that we are well on our way to achieving these goals.
We are now discussing a draft law on education, which has evoked a great deal of interest. People are always concerned about education because they think about the future and about their children.
Generally speaking, we have launched a record number of discussions on various draft laws this year. First, we debated the Law On the Police Force. It was a very useful experience because as a result we made significant changes to the draft law, which has now been submitted to the State Duma. And now we are debating a draft law on education.
Once again, education is an issue that concerns everyone. That is why there are people in this hall who have made a contribution to the development of education. I will name only one of them, someone who works far away from Moscow, in Buryatia: department chair at the Buryat State University Tsydypzhap Dorzhiev. I am sure that all your students will be proud to see you among the most distinguished teachers of our country.
Once again I would like to say: all the people present in this hall are highly trained professionals, and each of your stories is also the story of our state and society, and – a term that has become popular recently but I like it – it is a success story. Every person strives to be successful, to benefit his or her country, and such success stories as yours become an inspiration for many others. I firmly believe that it will continue to be so.