Vladimir Putin: Dear friends,
I am truly happy that we are meeting today. This is all the more true, because it is such a joyous and exciting occasion. According to tradition, outstanding citizens of our country are honoured here in the Kremlin in the last few days of December. We honour those people whose lives are an example of true service to the Motherland.
Today, people from various professions have gathered in this hall. Some are distinguished and famous, while others are receiving high awards for the first time. The people in this hall have steadfastly aimed to achieve their goal and know exactly what it was. They understood how to attain results, not sparing their own strength or their talent, selflessly creating and working.
And for me, it is a great honour to confer on you – talented people, brave soldiers, and genuine devotees – these deserved state awards.
Allow me, above all, to express my deep gratitude to Hero of the Great Patriotic War [WWII] and legendary military commander, Stepan Popov, and to confer on him the Order of Honour. And most importantly, congratulate him on behalf of everyone here on his 100th birthday. He is celebrating it today and so let us wish him good health, happiness and success. Mr Popov commanded a division during the war. We congratulate you!
The sacred traditions of military valour are being continued by Lieutenant-Colonel Igor Rodobolsky and Major Igor Zadorozhny. For the courage they showed while carrying out missions in the North Caucasus, the title Hero of Russia has been conferred on them.
Today, it gives me great pleasure to mention some of our country’s outstanding doctors who tirelessly care for people’s health every day. They include world-renowned neurosurgeon Alexander Konovalov, as well as the founder of one of the most complicated branches of medicine – children’s surgery – Yury Isakov.
I would like to address Svetlana Khoninova with particular respect today. This is a woman who is raising five children, all the while energetically working for the administration of the Tselinny District of Kalmykia. Virtually all the district’s residents know this responsive and responsible person. I think that this is a very good example of working for state bodies.
Russia has always been famed for its gifted people. This potential is truly inexhaustible. And it is entirely natural that not a single awards ceremony could be held without people prominent in literature and arts. Without those people who possess a rare gift for encapsulating feeling in art, the thoughts and feelings of the nation. They make a huge contribution to forming our society’s moral and spiritual values.
I am sincerely glad to see such outstanding figures here as the writer Vasily Belov, as well as the stage and cinema actors who are known to millions, Vladimir Etush, Yury Kayurov and Leonid Bronevoi, who recently celebrated his birthday. And, of course, Andrei Myagkov, with whom we have been greeting the New Year for almost 30 years.
Only a few days remain before New Year’s Eve. It is not only time to sum up the results of the year but also a time of hope, a time of plans for the future.
Of course, everyone here has his or her own ideas about this. But we all understand very well that everyone has to work for this future. Success does not “fall from the skies”. It can only be achieved through work, constant and great efforts.
I would like to congratulate once more everyone receiving awards. Everything that you’ve done in the manufacturing sphere, in science and sport, culture and education, all this is the glory of our country, its honour, wealth and authority.
Happy New Year to you all! I wish you health and happiness. And, of course, new work crowned with success.