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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Gentlemen! Dear friends!
I sincerely welcome you to the Kremlin and congratulate you on this significant event. Today, December 7, will go down in Russian Cossack history as the day of the rebirth of an important tradition: presenting military banners. And it is deeply symbolic that these key military relics have an inscription in gold thread that states, “For the Glory of the Fatherland.”
“Cossacks played a huge role in the development of our nation, as well as its defence. In many ways, Cossacks were architects of Russian history. Cossack units went on many legendary journeys, and during peaceful times, they guarded our borders and cultivated new lands.”
Cossacks played a huge role in the development of our nation, as well as its defence. In many ways, Cossacks were architects of Russian history. Cossack units went on many legendary journeys to Azov and Crimea. They participated in the war of 1812 and, as everybody knows, they went as far as Paris. And in peacetime, they guarded our borders and cultivated new lands. The heroic deeds of the Cossack ataman trailblazers, such as Yermak, Dezhnev and Khabarov, will be forever inscribed into the glorious history of Siberia and the Far East of our nation.
The government supports Cossacks’ aspirations to revive their time-honoured way of life, their original cultural traditions and spiritual values. During the last three years, we have been implementing a special national policy concept aimed at Cossacks; the Presidential Council, where all eleven Cossack military societies included in the State Register are represented, is working. We will continue engaging Cossacks in state and other forms of service, including the protection of state borders and public order.
Dear friends, we have gathered in the Kremlin’s St George Hall. It is a special place. This hall has witnessed many historic events. In the summer of 1945, Victory Parade participants were triumphantly welcomed within these walls. Our first cosmonaut was also honoured here, and the hall itself carries the name of the patron saint of all Russian warriors: St George the Victorious, who is particularly respected among Cossacks. I am certain that you will carry on the heroic deeds of your ancestors, and the banners of the Cossack military societies will become another symbol of your bravery, spiritual steadiness, and power.
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Comrades! Dear friends!
“The key task of all Cossack military societies remains the same: to promote the development and prosperity of our beloved Fatherland.”
The ceremony of presenting Cossack military banners is complete. But as I said earlier, this is only one of several highly important symbols, and the key task of all Cossack military societies and people who consider themselves Cossacks remains the same: to promote the development and prosperity of our beloved Fatherland.
In my opening remarks, I spoke about the actions of the past, the glorious pages of history. Naturally, there were many more similar historic moments. Our history holds some tragic pages as well, which we must also remember, because the authorities have not always acted appropriately with regard to Cossacks, or other groups for that matter. Thus, it is all the more important to ensure that in the 21st century, all our potential, all the human potential of our nation, serves the good of developing our state.
Our nation still faces many problems and many challenges, including the ones pertaining to maintaining law and order, and ensuring our citizens’ security, regardless of where they live or what they do. And this is an area where Cossacks have a special role to play. I am certain that you will fulfil this lofty mission with dignity. Thank you.