President Vladimir Putin:
It is a great honour for me on this day, Russia’s national holiday, to confer on you the National Awards.
First of all, allow me to congratulate you on this day, the Day of Russian Sovereignty.
Our country has followed a difficult road of transformation over the last 15 years. These changes have had a far-reaching impact on almost every area of our lives. In what is just a short period in history our society has undergone a qualitative change in thinking and we have opened up completely new development paths both for the individuals who make up our society and for the state itself.
Now that many years have passed, we have the full right to say that the Russian Constitution is one of the most democratic in the world. People are the cornerstone of our constitution — their rights and liberties, guarantees for a decent life, business and public initiative, the chance to develop their creative and spiritual freedom.
This is why we see the Day of Russian Sovereignty as being an integral whole with values such as democracy, patriotism and civic spirit.
You who are gathered here today know well that the labour, talent and selfless devotion of Russia’s sons and daughters have always constituted the Russian state’s main source of support throughout every period of its history. There can be no doubt that the more room Russia’s citizens have to develop their constructive, creative energy, the greater our common national success will be and the greater our country’s authority will be in the world.
Life has shown us that today, too, outstanding scientific discoveries, new works of literature and artistic achievements are an integral part of and condition for national progress in general. We once again have confirmation that the intellectual, spiritual and cultural values of our people always were and remain the primary foundation for making our country highly competitive.
Our state now has the opportunity to put ever greater resources into these areas and carry through truly ambitious undertakings. It is not by chance that the State Prizes have gained in prestige and significance.
Let me emphasise once more: science and education, culture and development of the arts are all unquestionable priorities for state policy. Society’s noticeably increased interest in these areas is not just a logical development of events – these areas were always of particular importance for Russia’s people and for Russia in general.
Today, as in the past, these achievements continue to provide us with a source of spiritual energy, fuel to develop our minds and new reserves for economic growth and social development.
I believe it is of principle importance that all steps to modernise these areas should be subject to broad-based and open public discussion. And the great recognition that the state bestows on your work and your personal achievements, dear friends, is a worthy example and great incentive for all our people, above all, for the young generation.
The value of knowledge and talent, creative searching and artistic taste will only grow in modern Russia. I am sure that it will very soon bring significant and tangible benefits to our country.
Let me once again name the winners of the State Prizes.
Alexander Yuryevich Kvasnikov, Valery Ivanovich Kolinko and Arkady Yevtikhyevich Vereshkin have been awarded a State Prize for creating a principally new optic-electronic cosmic control complex. Their work represents a genuine technological breakthrough, both in strengthening cosmic security and in a whole number of so-called dual-purpose technologies. Their work has given Russia an ultramodern and effective instrument for ensuring its national security while at the same time providing new opportunities for developing our peaceful space programme.
The work of outstanding Russian scientist Ludwig Dmitriyevich Faddeyev is well known and recognised throughout the world. His discoveries have formed the foundation for solving vital problems of mathematical physics and have placed Russia at the forefront of fundamental knowledge.
Today, not only the exact sciences but also the humanities are undergoing a revival, among them, archaeology – the eternal science.
Academician Vyacheslav Molodin and Doctor of Historical Sciences Natalya Viktorovna Polosmak spent long years studying and conserving the archaeological monuments of Siberia. They have opened up for us previously unknown pages in the lives of the people of ancient Eurasia, the culture of the Scythian period. Using the most advanced bio-chemical methods, they have preserved valuable exhibits for our descendents and for future generations of researchers to work with.
It gives me pleasure to welcome the winner of the State Prize for literature and the arts, the outstanding Russian poet, Isabella Akhatovna Akhmadulina. Her work is always sincere, refined and lofty and continues the best traditions of our literature, traditions set by Pushkin, Akhmatova, Pasternak and Tsvetayeva.
Another recipient of this high award is Anna Yuryevna Netrebko, a bright new star on the Russian and world musical stage. The Russian vocal school was always a great source of talent and it is pleasing to see that this wonderful tradition continues in this new century.
The architects and restorers Leonid Yegorovich Krasnorechyev and Ninel Nikolayevna Kuzmina, being true patriots and filled with devotion to their country, have put all their heart and soul into restoring a unique monument of Russian architecture – the Church of the Assumption near Novgorod.
Your personal achievements are not just exceptional and bright events in Russian science and the arts; they are the pride and glory of our nation.
It is deeply symbolic that we should be honouring those who have raised our Fatherland higher on this day, our main national holiday. Each of you has made an undeniable personal contribution to preserving our historic and cultural heritage, to reviving Russian science, education and to the renaissance of Russia’s spirituality.
Thanks to you, Russia has become stronger, richer, and has taken another step forward. You set yourselves ambitious, truly great and noble goals, and you have generously bestowed your talent upon your country and its people. I am sure that you will always find recompense, and not just in the form of state decorations, but in the love and attention our people give you.
I congratulate you and thank you with all my heart.
Thank you very much.