The honorary titles have been awarded for courage, fortitude and mass heroism of the cities’ defenders in the struggle for the freedom and independence of the Fatherland. The President signed relevant executive orders on November 4, 2011.
At present Russia has 37 cities of military glory.
* * *
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, friends, veterans, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all of you on the Defender of the Fatherland Day.
It is very symbolic that we are holding a ceremony today conferring the City of Military Glory title on Kovrov, Lomonosov, Taganrog and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Our country is vast and very diverse. The four cities represented here are also very different, whether we look at their history or architecture, their population or industrial potential. Even the distances between these cities are huge: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is separated from Lomonosov by nearly 7,000 km.
At the same time, there are obvious similarities: all of these cities share courage, fortitude and patriotism, which rallied their people over the centuries. They did everything to fight our enemies in different historical situations.
The entire country is proud of these cities’ heroic feats.
”Cities of Military Glory share courage, fortitude and patriotism, which rallied their people over the centuries. The entire country is proud of these cities’ heroic feats.“
At the end of the 17th century Taganrog became one of Russia’s outposts on the Azov Sea. The walled city has witnessed many battles. During the Russian-Turkish war and the Crimean War the Taganrog garrison repeatedly repelled the enemy’s assaults.
During the Great Patriotic War, Taganrog was occupied for nearly two years but the period of adversity did not break the spirit of its residents, who created an underground organisation (one of the largest in southern Russia), and took part in their city’s liberation.
Taganrog was the third city in Russia after Orel and Belgorod whose liberation was celebrated with a fireworks display in Moscow on August 30, 1943.
Lomonosov, which used to be called Oranienbaum, occupies a special place in the annals of military glory. The elite regiments of the Russian army were deployed there, and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was home to the Officers’ Infantry and Armoury schools.
In the Great Patriotic War, Lomonosov became a crucial point of Leningrad’s defence. The Oranienbaum base was a key stretch of the northern capital’s defence line. The Aurora cruiser was deployed there. It was through the fortitude of the Red Army’s soldiers and civilians that the invaders’ plans failed, and it was here that the rout of the Nazi troops started in January 1944 on the approaches to Leningrad.
Today a certificate conferring the City of Military Glory title is being presented to representatives of Kovrov. At the beginning of the 20th century a machine-gun factory was built here, and the largest manufacture of automatic weapons was set up here in the Soviet times, where the inventor of machine guns, Vladimir Fedorov, worked together with his followers, Vasily Degtyarev and Georgy Shpagin. Interestingly, both Fedorov and Degtyarev began their professional careers in Oranienbaum, and that is also symbolic.
When the Great Patriotic War began, about 20,000 residents of Kovrov, a small town, went to fight on the frontlines. Plant workers, a third of whom were women and children, worked day and night, providing the army with weapons and equipment. Fifteen Kovrov residents were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. In today’s Russia, the city still maintains its reputation as one of the leading defence industry centres. It has preserved the professionalism acquired in the past century and is developing new approaches to modern challenges.
In 1740, a prison was built on the shores of Avachinsky Bay, and it was named by its founder, the famous explorer Vitus Bering, in honour of Saints Peter and Paul. Thus began the history of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
During the Crimean War, its small garrison and the local volunteer corps defended the city for ten days, repelling the attacks of British and French troops.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky survived many tribulations in the Russo-Japanese War, and during World War II the Lend-Lease supplies of food and other goods from the United States were transported via the city. In 1945 the Kuril troops were formed, which landed on the islands of Paramushir and Shumshu and drove out the superior Japanese forces, bringing an end to the bloodiest war in human history.
”Great Patriotic War veterans bore the burden of this war on their shoulders, and after it ended they rebuild the country from the ruins. We must never forget the heroic feats of that period.“
It is traditional for the certificate presentation ceremony to be attended by all generations of the Cities of Military Glory. And that is what we can see here today: it is a wonderful and fair tradition. Great Patriotic War veterans bore the burden of this war on their shoulders, and after it ended they rebuilt the country from the ruins. Therefore, we must never forget the heroic feats of that period.
I would like to sincerely congratulate all of those present here, and those of you who are watching this on television, all the people of Kovrov, Lomonosov, Taganrog, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on being awarded the City of Military Glory title. I wish you good health, prosperity and all the very best.
So much in our lives depends on how we feel about ourselves. This ceremony of presenting the City of Military Glory titles is called on to enhance our identity as a unified nation living across the vast territory that is called Russia.
Naturally, the honorary title is a very positive symbol for the residents of these cities. Perhaps for major metropolises, cities with a population of over a million people, this would be less significant or tangible than for a relatively small town. But apart from the moral impact, and the heads of municipalities were absolutely right in what they said on this subject, it is also an incentive to build a more comfortable and more modern environment.
I think the mayors of these cities, as well as all of their residents will agree with me that a city which bears the proud title of City of Military Glory must be worthy of this title. It must be beautiful, well cared for and clean, a city that evokes the warmest feelings of its inhabitants and visitors. I hope that this ceremony of presenting the honorary titles will have a beneficial effect on the image of the four cities: Kovrov, Lomonosov, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Taganrog. We have every opportunity to achieve this and our people’s well-being depends on it. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations.
I am very pleased that this ceremony took place on February 23, the day that brings together all the defenders of our Fatherland. I am sure your cities will now get monuments and honour rolls devoted to this event. I hope the fact that your cities have been awarded these honorary titles will have a very positive impact on the performance of municipal services.
Happy holiday to all of you!
I would like to wish our veterans health, and I wish all of you present here happiness and success, and once again congratulate you on the Defender of the Fatherland Day.