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Speech at ceremony presenting state decorations to foreign citizens for their great contribution to building friendship and cooperation with Russia
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends,
Gathered here today are people who have done a great deal to develop cooperation with our country. I mean cooperation in the broad sense of the word: economic cooperation, humanitarian contacts, and cultural ties. I thank all of you sincerely for the work you have done over the years.
I have met and worked with many of those present on various occasions. It makes me especially happy that working with Russia has become part of your lives, and that it means a lot to you to see relations between Russia and your countries develop as well as possible. Relations between countries are always the sum of all of the personal contacts and chemistry that develop between people, and if people have good relations, countries will have good relations too, very good relations.
You come from very different countries, countries with which Russia has extensive, good-neighbourly and constructive relations, and your labours have certainly had a part in building these relations.
I thank you for everything you have done.
I propose that we begin presenting the decorations now.
At this point in such ceremonies I usually say what a happy moment it is for the people who have just received state decorations. But there is a real pleasure too to present decorations to such exceptional people as those gathered here today. The words spoken today confirm this. It made me very happy to hear the kind words in Russia’s address, and the words about the need to continue all-round efforts to strengthen relations between Russia and your own countries.
Of course, it was a great joy to hear too the Russian spoken by those who either studied in our country or lived together with us as a single whole at one time. Of course this all gives us great hope for the future. We all know that life is not easy. Every country has its problems. But when we try to solve our problems with the help of efforts as active as your own, the support you provide through the various programmes you are involved in, or simply the daily labour you perform in the service of your art or profession, it gives us real hope that humanity does indeed have a bright future.
Once again, on behalf of the Russian Federation, on behalf of our nation, I want to say that we are all good friends and will always be happy to see you in our country, no matter where you may be or what you are doing.
Thank you very much!