President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, friends,
Happy Russia Day! This national holiday reflects not only the major democratic and economic transformations that began over twenty years ago, but also the entire historical path of the Russian state which is constantly developing and has already existed for over eleven centuries. For us and for the future generations it is most essential to comprehend the enormity of the scale of this strive. We must appreciate the value of the past and its underlying significance. We must maintain the continuity of national and spiritual traditions, and we must understand their significance for resolving current problems. We must never forget that Russia gave the world incomparable examples of genuine self-sacrifice, bravery and strength of spirit in the military, labour and civil arenas, that genuine cultural and literary masterpieces were created in our nation, that unique scientific discoveries were made here, and that the people of Russia have had an enormous input into the progress of the global civilisation. The achievements of our contemporary scientists, writers and artists are living proof that this continuity of times, ideas and creative exploration is still on-going. Today, we presented national prizes to the most distinguished among them. I want to once again sincerely congratulate the laureates and express my wishes for many new achievements.
In a huge country like Russia, with its multi-ethnic population and complex federal structure, the preciousness of evolutionary and progressive development is absolutely evident. Anything that weakens the nation and divides our society is unacceptable for us. We cannot tolerate any decisions or actions that may result in social or economic upheavals. Our national historic memory speaks to this.
We see the deep transformations taking place in the modern world. Russia must take a worthy place in these processes; it must be open to everything that is new and innovative, while also relying on our accumulated stability resource. I am confident that we will be able to successfully modernise our economy, our political system and social relationships on this reliable foundation.
You know, all these processes are already underway. New parties will emerge, and regional governors will be elected through direct elections. These undoubtedly positive trends certainly require openness on the part of the authorities at all levels, as well as constant dialogue with society and particular attention toward resolving problems that concern the people of our country. These include the quality of education and healthcare in every town and village, orderly function in housing and public utilities, and the ability for law enforcement agencies to defend the law and the dignity of the people.
Today, there are differing points of view concerning Russia’s present and future. These heated discussions are commonplace in a free, democratic nation, and that is precisely the course that our people have chosen. Today, we are all responsible for properly implementing this choice, so that Russia is powerful and prosperous, so that people here live comfortably, happily and safely. Thus, it is important to respect and listen to one another, to strive for mutual understanding and find compromises, to unite society around a positive, constructive agenda.
We have one nation, one Fatherland, and today, on Russia Day, we are particularly cognisant that together we can all achieve the most ambitious goals, that only together can we be victorious and move forward.
Allow me to propose a toast for a free and prosperous Russia, for the happiness of our people!
Happy holiday, dear friends, happy Russia Day!