Vladimir Putin visited the Bolgar State Historical and Architectural Reserve. The President toured the sights of the ancient city of Bolgar, which was a political, economic and cultural centre of the Volga-Kama Bulgaria, which adopted Islam in 922.
The ceremony of presenting state awards was held here. Head of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan’s Educational Department Valiulla Yakupov was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage for courage and bravery he showed in performing his civic duties. Vladimir Putin presented the Order to Galina Aventyeva, the widow of Valiulla Yakupov, who was killed on July 19, 2012.
The Order of Friendship was awarded to President of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan Mufti Ildus Faizov, who was injured on that day in a car explosion. He received the Order for his contribution to the development of spiritual and moral traditions, strengthening civil accord and interfaith cooperation.
Later, Vladimir Putin visited the Island-City of Sviyazhsk, which played a key role in the formation of the Russian state as a military and administrative centre, as well as a major Orthodox city, which had a significant impact on the spread of Orthodoxy in the Middle Volga region. The President visited the Holy Dormition Monastery in Sviyazhsk, founded in 1555.
Address at the state awards ceremony
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
We have gathered today in the ancient Bolgar, a city that is revered in Tatarstan and beyond its borders as a historical and spiritual centre. It has great spiritual value for the whole country and a special significance for the followers of Islam, for the entire Muslim Ummah.
It was here that the ancestors of modern Tatars adopted Islam more than a thousand years ago. This choice, just as the adoption of Orthodoxy by the ancient Rus, had enormous cultural, spiritual and educational value, has played a unique role in the national and state formation of the Volga people and defined their character, traditions, customs and moral values in many ways. After all, Islam, like the other religions in our country, has always taught the believers the eternal values of piety and love for others.
Here, in the Volga region, these same values helped people to find a common language and understand each other, whether they were Orthodox or Muslim, Russians and Tatars, Bashkirs, Chuvashes or other ethnic groups that populate our country. Religious tolerance remained a pillar of the Russian state for centuries, and it is this foundation that is attacked by those trying to destroy our state. Whereas the clergy of major religions have always cherished peace and harmony in our shared homeland, appealed to people with words of kindness and mercy, and help separate the truth from the lies.
”Islam, like the other religions in our country, has always taught the believers the eternal values of piety and love for others.“
That is how Valiulla Yakupov understood his own high mission. He was a true educator and mentor. Those who dared raise a hand against him, those who organised the heinous assassination attempt against the President of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan Mufti Ildus Faizov feared their wisdom, their authority among the faithful and young people, and their firm and courageous stand.
Terrorists and militants of all kinds, whatever ideological slogans they hide behind, always act cynically, behind one’s back, and have only one aim: to sow fear and mutual hatred, to divide, bring under their control and enslave people, replace real values with the treacherous propaganda of extremism and violence. They stop at nothing, killing fellow Muslims and the clergy, doing evil and shedding blood on sacred holidays, which call on all faithful Muslims to peace, harmony and spiritual perfection.
But criminals will never achieve their despicable goals. They have no future, they will not succeed in any region of our great country, because a single, multi-ethnic, powerful Russian nation can never be defeated: millions of people believe in truth and justice, and those people are not afraid of anything, they cannot be intimidated and they know the value of peace.
Our people will never let them break apart and divide our society into ethnic “blocks” on religious grounds and thereby weaken our country and destroy our shared home. We owe it to the generations of our ancestors, to the memory of the people who faithfully served their country and their nation. People like Valiulla Yakupov. I remember other members of the clergy who were killed by terrorists. Valiulla Yakupov has been posthumously awarded the Order of Courage. I bow my head to his family and loved ones, and I present this state award with my head bowed. A state award will also be presented today to the President of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan Mufti Ildus Faizov.
”Our people will never let them break apart and divide our society into ethnic “blocks” on religious grounds and thereby weaken our country and destroy our shared home. We owe it to the generations of our ancestors.“
I want to say once again that we will do everything in our power to promote peace in our country. We will cherish accord and defend the values that serve as moral and historical landmarks. And we will never deviate from this path.
Thank you for your attention.
Vladimir Putin: Dear friends,
I want to address all of those who have gathered here, all the clergy of our traditional religions, to express my gratitude and appreciation for your efforts and for your courage. It is a hard path to serve your people, and as it turns out, it is also dangerous. It is a dangerous mission, but a highly noble one.
As we have said more than once, the state owes a great deal to the clergy of traditional religions, to religious activists and all believers. We know that they were harshly persecuted in the past, many of them endured great suffering, were killed, disappeared without a trace from the face of the earth, but they never betrayed their ideals. I know that it is impossible to break the spirit of such strong people as you.
Thank you very much for your service to the nation and our common Fatherland. Thank you.