Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
First of all, I congratulate you on the approaching Defender of the Homeland Day. For the second year we have marked it as a national holiday. That underscores the social and civil importance of the military profession. And of course, it testifies to the high social responsibility of the country’s officer corps for the defence capability and security of our country.
I hope that the results of the first conference of army officers in the history of the new Russia will help you to perform your duty successfully, exchange useful experience and prompt solutions to the problems that the Russian Armed Forces face today.
I know that officers from all the armed services and from all the military districts and fleets of our country are present here. Many of you are young officers who will determine the future of our army.
I think it is important that taking part in the conference will give you a better idea of strategic issues such as the reform of the armed forces, the military-technical and even international policy of our country, along with insight into the current problems.
The situation in the world and the situation in the country present new demands to the officer corps and call for new skills. They require not only specialised knowledge, but broad horizons, awareness of international experience, modern methods and the capacity for self-learning. Without these qualities it is impossible to effectively modernise the military organisation of the state and adopt new principles of recruiting the army and in general to ensure the proper level of combat readiness.
I need hardly to repeat that the foremost Russian military commanders possessed all these qualities. They did not only make their mark in developing the art of war, but have always been models of dignified behaviour, culture and officer’s honour.
In ensuring global stability and security all factors are equally important, including political, diplomatic, legal and, not least, of course, defence measures.
We speak about the priority tasks of the armed forces at practically all army gatherings. Obviously, ensuring combat and mobilisation readiness are still relevant tasks.
It is necessary to continue work to optimise the structure and composition of the military organisation. Large-scale work is to be carried out to provide the army with new weapons and military equipment. A long-term military-technical policy is currently being developed aimed at solving that task.
In conducting all these measures one must take an objective view of the current geopolitical situation, which remains very complicated. The world balance has been upset. The new international security structure is just evolving; it has not been created yet. We cannot but note the growing aggressiveness of some influential forces in some countries which, combined with the declining effectiveness of international institutions for the maintenance of global security and conflict resolution, gives cause for concern.
One cannot underestimate the danger of international terrorism. Our goal in this field is to create powerful forces based on innovative technologies capable of effectively tackling the whole range of counter-terrorist tasks.
I would like to note the role of the armed forces in stabilising the situation in the Chechen Republic. Analysis of the situation in the North Caucasus shows that there are qualitative changes underway in that republic. People are returning to peaceful life, though gradually and slowly.
We will steadily reduce the presence of military units depending on the real situation on the ground. And we will strengthen the republican law enforcement bodies and the Chechen police which together must play the main role in ensuring public security in Chechnya.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who took part in eliminating the terrorist infrastructure in the North Caucasus and all those who continue to do their duty in the Chechen Republic in the units permanently stationed there.
In conclusion I would like to say the following. Today you are going to discuss many problems, including the strengthening of discipline in military units and the eradication of bullying and hazing in the army.
I am convinced that the solution of these problems on which hinge the results of the military reform greatly depends on you, officers; on your ability to unite the army collectives and reach out to the soldiers. I would like to remind you that according to Russian Army tradition the officer is not only a commander, but a mentor and educator.
And finally about the social problems of servicemen. Obviously it is impossible to strengthen the armed forces without showing care for those who devoted their lives to service in defence of their country. So, the social aspect of the transformations being carried out in the army and navy will be constantly in the focus of attention of the federal authorities.
Russia needs professional, well-trained and well-equipped armed forces. We will seek to make them meet all these requirements in order to continue the glorious traditions of Russian warriors, the traditions laid down by generations of defenders of our country.
And today I would like to address special words of recognition to the veterans of the Second World War present here. Your heroic deed will forever shine as an example of valour and loyalty to your oath and your military duty.
I wish you, dear veterans, good health and prosperity. And I wish all Russian soldiers success in serving their country and personal happiness. Congratulations on the approaching holiday.
Thank you for your attention.