Comrade officers, generals,
We have gathered here on the eve of a day of celebration – Defender of the Fatherland Day. On this day the country honours those who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces, those who have selflessly devoted themselves to their country and who defend the security of our state, our society and every citizen of this land.
Today I want to congratulate from the bottom of my heart all servicemen, veterans and civilian personnel in the Armed Forces.
Practically every Russian family has some link or other to the Armed Forces. We have a lot of military families where generation after generation chooses to take up this arduous martial labour. In doing so they choose a profession, prestige and status that shine forth from every page of the history of Russian statehood’s formation and strengthening.
Millions of our people have served in the Armed Forces, and for most of them this experience has been a real school of life. It is in the Armed Forces that young people learn self-discipline, perseverance and the ability to stand firm in difficult circumstances. Only strong people can handle military discipline, exercises, and marches. For these people, serving the Fatherland is not just their soldierly duty, it is their vocation and the meaning of their lives. The arduous service of the soldier has always been held in esteem in Russia, in particularly high esteem.
The traditions, ideals and values of military patriotism are woven through every period of our history. The patriotism of our Armed Forces and the civil commitment of Russia’s officers have always been a source of values and inspiration for Russian society. We are proud of our talented commanders and fearless fighters. We are proud of Russia’s soldiers, who have not only defended their own country but have also saved the world from conquering foes, and more than once.
The military life is once again becoming prestigious today and the Armed Forces, now acting in new conditions, are today showing how effective and how needed they are.
Our country does not and cannot have aggressive intentions or imperial ambitions. We do not seek to threaten anyone. But having combat-ready armed forces is a crucial part of our national security and a necessary condition for our country’s genuinely peaceful development.
Our military potential was and continues to be a component part of international security. Historically, along with other countries, we bear responsibility for global security and for security throughout the huge Eurasian continent.
I repeat that we are strengthening and modernising our Armed Forces, including our strategic forces, in order to ensure the reliable defence of our country. This is a fundamental condition for a peaceful and fruitful life for our people.
Yes, the Russian Armed Forces still face a good number of difficulties and problems, but these are all problems that can be solved. Our Armed Forces must meet modern demands. They must be mobile, genuinely professional and equipped with the latest arms and technology. Reliable security is a key element of our internal development. And we must be ready to deal with any threats, from terrorism and local conflicts to major aggression.
Our success in transforming and strengthening our country’s defence potential depends a great deal on how servicemen feel their social needs are being taken care of, on how service and daily life are organised. Of course, the army faces the same problems that affect the country in general. But we should not forget that the Armed Forces are particularly acutely affected by these problems.
You bear the burden of carrying out difficult military operations and daily service in remote units and garrisons, and, very importantly, you are also responsible for making fine warriors and real men of your soldiers.
I would once more like to congratulate you on this holiday, a holiday that has long since become one of the most loved and honoured in our country. This only further confirms how much our country respects those who defend it.
I also wish to offer my personal congratulations to your families and loved ones, who share all the hardships with you and are also celebrating this holiday today. It is also rightly their day and their holiday.
I wish you all success, health and prosperity.
All the best, thank you very much.