President Vladimir Putin: I greatly value this opportunity to meet with you, with such outstanding citizens of this country, and it gives me immense pleasure to present you these awards that represent recognition of your talent, your determination to reach your goals and your selfless service to our homeland.
Gathered here in this hall today are people in whom Russia feels deserved pride. The achievements of many of you are known not just in our country but throughout the entire world.
Your talent, courage and feats have already become part of our country’s great history. Your creative work has enriched our people’s unique culture. Your great knowledge and selfless labour have laid the foundation for economic and scientific breakthroughs and have reinforced our society’s social health.
Today we give recognition to those who are building and continuing our glorious national traditions, those who are united by the noble aim of making our country a strong and prosperous nation.
Today we honour people who are wholeheartedly devoted to their professions, people who, be it in military or civilian affairs, make Russia’s glory shine brighter and raise our country’s international authority. They include scientists and teachers, workers and industrialists, representatives of state and public organisations and, of course, outstanding cultural figures.
The Order “For Service to the Fatherland” second degree is awarded to Yury Mefodyevich Solomin. You have devoted your entire life to serving art, your country and your people. Your name has become synonymous with the ideals of loyalty and honour and your professional skill is an example of authentic talent.
We are all pleased to see here today the great actresses and beautiful women Lyudmila Ivanovna Kasatkina, Anastasia Alexandrovna Vertinskaya and Svetlana Pavlovna Varguzova, the brilliant star of our operetta.
These names, of course, represent only a part of the outstanding list of recipients of today’s awards. Each of you here today is worthy of special words in your honour. I would like to thank you all for your hard work, your talent and your achievements, for the fact that you put so much of your strength and energy into work and creation for the good of our country.
I would like to conclude by congratulating all of you on these merited awards and wishing you further success in all your undertakings.
Thank you very much.
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Allow me to just add a couple of words. This hall is not large and does not hold many people, but today all of Russia is represented here, both in geography and in the variety of activities you represent. Our whole country is represented here in all her grandeur and beauty. Here we have people from the north, the south, from the Far East, from the centre of the country, outstanding arts and theatre figures, representatives of the military and the state. Here we see the soul of Russia. It could be felt in the speeches made and in the way some of the recipients reacted when receiving their awards, recalling their own parents, for example. The soul of Russia is here in this hall.
I would like to congratulate you sincerely, from the depths of my heart, on receiving these state decorations, and I wish you all the very best.
Thank you very much.