President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
I warmly welcome you to the founding congress of the World Armenian Organisation. This is an exceptionally important event and it is of historical significance in the full sense of the word. I am genuinely pleased to see people here from many different parts of the world, and, of course, I would like to thank you for inviting me here and giving me the opportunity to address this congress.
It is flattering for us and symbolic that this forum was organised by the Union of Armenians of Russia, and that Moscow was chosen as the venue.
It’s not just that the Armenian community in Russia is one of the world’s oldest Armenian communities. I think that today, this community is probably the biggest in the world. I believe that other, no less important considerations also played a part in deciding where this congress would be held. This is what the President of Armenia just spoke about, these are long-standing and enduring traditions of friendship, mutual help and partnership between Russia and Armenia that have bound our countries together over the centuries and continue to do so today.
We were together through times of peace and times of great tribulation. Our fathers and grandfathers fought side by side in many wars, including in the bloodiest war of the twentieth century – World War II. We both call this war the Great Patriotic War and representatives of both our peoples have felt themselves at home and needed on both Russian and Armenian soil.
Thousands of Russian volunteers went to help their Armenian brothers following the terrible earthquake of 1988. Thousands of Armenians have come to live and work in Russia.
For many of them our country has become a second home, and we highly value the contribution that the Armenian diaspora has made to all areas of Russian life.
In recent times the strategic partnership between Russia and Armenia has undergone new and serious changes. Without a doubt, our growing humanitarian contacts are also based on this renewed political and economic foundation.
Our partnership today serves the national interests of both our countries, serves to strengthen security, increase our international authority and foster stability and economic progress.
Finally, the benefits of our joint efforts to reinforce the Commonwealth of Independent States are becoming ever more evident, as is our mutually advantageous work to coordinate our positions on international and regional issues, including within the framework of regional organisations such as the Eurasian Economic Community and Collective Security Treaty.
Together we are effectively combating new threats and working on strengthening interethnic peace and concord in our countries. Finally, we are cooperating in the strategically vital region of the Caucasus.
Turning the Caucasus into a region of peace, stability and economic cooperation is a common task of immense importance today. Russia is ready to continue its peacekeeping role in regulating the conflicts in the Trans-Caucasus region together with its partners in the CIS.
I am convinced that no matter how complicated these problems appear, we must look for ways to resolve them as quickly as possible. We must find solutions that are acceptable to all sides. And, of course, it is not through the joint efforts of states alone that we can fight terrorism and national and religious extremism. Public opinion, the position taken by the citizens of various countries and the possibilities of people’s diplomacy must also have their impact. I would like to express the hope today that the World Armenian Organisation will contribute to this work.
It has long been noted that the more successfully a country develops, the greater its authority and the more confident its citizens feel both at home and abroad.
People in Russia know this very well and we fully understand your sincere desire and ambition to develop a modern Armenia, a sovereign, independent and democratic state with good prospects in the economic and international-political arenas.
We share your optimism and your aims. I hope that the Armenian diaspora’s contribution to its historical homeland will only develop and grow stronger, and I hope the Russian-Armenian business partnership will further promote.
In conclusion, I would like to say that our common historical heritage has been forever enriched by the works of the poets Ovanes Tumanian and Yegishe Charents, by the paintings of Ivan Aivazovsky and Martiros Sarian and the music of Aram Khachaturian and Arno Babajanian. We are all proud of this as our common heritage. Nor will we ever forget the deeds of the exceptional military commanders Ivan Bagramian, Sergei Khudyakov and Ivan Isakov. Armenians all around the world are proud of these names, and so are we in Russia.
This memory, this experience of spiritual dialogue and mutual support will continue to help us build an equal alliance between Armenia and Russia and further the relations between our two fraternal peoples and two sovereign, democratic states.
I am convinced that this is how it will be. I wish the Armenian people peace, prosperity and wellbeing. You are a people of amazing spiritual fortitude and boundless talent, a people that always were, and I’m sure, always will be a good and sincere neighbour to Russia.