President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, I congratulate you on Russia Day.
This holiday grows in importance every year. Its meaning, spirit and atmosphere reflect Russia’s development today. It is also a part of our history with all its difficult and sometimes dramatic moments.
We all remember how sudden and dramatic the changes of the early 1990s were, the transition to a new life, how difficult it all was, and how great the political and economic transformations taking place were. The Russian people’s will, strength, and patience helped us to get through the hardships of those years and ultimately reach civil, social and ethnic peace and set our country firmly on a development track that is inseparable from the ideas of democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
These values are of paramount importance for us. Moreover, the energy of a united society and the freedom and responsibility of each individual citizen are a powerful force for taking us forward and guaranteeing the success of our bold and ambitious projects.
Friends, today’s holiday symbolises the common destiny of our people, who have lived in peace and harmony for centuries, and sincerely love their homeland, which is the common home for people of different ethnic groups and faiths.
We must always remember the importance and wealth of this unique experience, treasure the traditions that our forebears have handed down through the ages, and be worthy of their sacred love for their fatherland, their deeds and sacrifices. This is our priceless heritage and the foundation for strengthening our unity and for our moral and spiritual development.
Each generation has a duty to make their contribution to their great country’s history. We must do all we can to reach our goals, above all that of giving our millions of people a better quality of life. Our country’s democratic procedures, federal system, market economy and all forms of guarantees for human rights must work towards this priority goal today. Change makes sense when people actually see that their lives are getting better. These are the goals we will achieve.
Friends, once again I congratulate you on this holiday and raise a toast to a free and prosperous Russia and to prosperity for our people!
Happy Russia Day!