President Vladimir Putin: Dear Nursultan Abishevich [President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev],
Dear veterans and personnel of the space launch centre,
Dear Russian and Kazakh friends!
I congratulate you from the depths of my heart on this wonderful occasion – the 50th anniversary of the legendary Baikonur Space Launch Centre.
Some of the greatest milestones in world history are forever connected to Baikonur, the world’s first space launch centre. They include the launch of the first man-made satellite, Yury Gagarin’s historic flight, the first man to walk in space and the first space station.
These successes, this triumph, were made possible by the tremendous work carried out by hundreds of thousands of people from all the republics of the former Soviet Union.
It would be no exaggeration to call the construction of Baikonur, and indeed the entire space programme, a genuine national achievement and a true patriotic feat. This was the achievement of a people who had lived through a terrible war and suffered tremendous losses, but not only did they rebuild the country anew from amidst the ruins and destruction, they also opened up the road to outer space for humanity. Just think, in 1945 the war had just ended, and only ten years later the construction of Baikonur began!
The Baikonur Cosmodrome opened a new page in the history of civilisation and world scientific and technological progress, and it is deeply symbolic that we are celebrating this 50th anniversary of Baikonur in the same year as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War.
Today, we pay sincere tribute to those who built this unique site, and we honour those who worked here, pursuing ambitious plans to explore outer space and study distant planets. Scientists and engineers, testers and workers, civilians and military personnel – all of them helped write the glorious chronicle of Baikonur through their work and their courage.
Baikonur is deservedly considered one of the world’s leading space launch centres today. It is pleasing to see that its unique potential is being actively used and is developing all the time. Baikonur plays a key part in ensuring the International Space Station’s work and in carrying out the space programmes of the CIS countries and other nations.
I would like to stress that this new and successful chapter in Baikonur’s history is yet another tangible result of the strategic partnership between Russia and Kazakhstan. It was our close cooperation that enabled Baikonur to keep its major place in world space exploration and to undergo a welcome revival after the immensely difficult period it went through in the 1990s.
Russia and Kazakhstan have signed around 30 treaties and agreements over the last decade, regulating all areas of the cosmodrome’s and town’s activity. The Agreement on Developing Cooperation for the Effective Use of Baikonur is of paramount importance and provides for extending the lease of the site until 2050.
Here, in the presence of colleagues and friends, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, for his principled and far-sighted policy. Thank you very much.
Here, at Baikonur, we see how cooperation and integration benefit the interests of both our countries and what an effective contribution they make to raising Russia’s and Kazakhstan’s international prestige and strengthening our positions on high-technology markets.
We intend to continue developing our interaction and cooperation in the peaceful exploration of outer space. One promising project is the development at Baikonur of the Baiterek new generation launch complex. You who are here celebrating this anniversary today will be the ones to make these ambitious plans reality.
The President of Kazakhstan and I also discussed other possible plans today. I hope they will be just as promising and just as significant for our countries.
In conclusion, I would like to wish all the cosmodrome’s personnel, all the residents of Baikonur – Russians and Kazakhs – great success and new victories together.
Once again, happy holiday, dear friends, happy anniversary!
Allow me now, on behalf of the Russian state, to carry out the honorary mission of presenting state decorations to citizens of Russia and Kazakhstan who have made a great contribution to the work of Baikonur.