President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon dear friends!
Despite the snowfall and traffic jams in Moscow you all made it here. I am very glad to see you. We are meeting just before 2006 and as a rule ceremonies that take place before the New Year are marked by the coming holiday's special atmosphere. And I am glad to be able to wish you all a very Happy New Year by presenting the Russian State Awards.
The high quality of your work, noble goals and the realization of ambitious ideas are behind each of these awards. These awards are the result of your devotion to your work as well as to the fundamental ideals of society and life.
In many respects it is due to your persistent, painstaking work and creative energy that our country is becoming stronger and that Russian society is finally finding confidence and dignity.
It is obvious that the present successes of Russia and Russian people are in many ways connected with the civil and military achievements of previous generations.
I think that on the last days of the year that marks the 60 th anniversary of Victory we must remember the feats of soldiers in the Great Patriotic War. And it is especially pleasant for me to present an Honour Award to the veteran and Hero of the Soviet Union Oleg Aleksandrovich Losik. Just recently he celebrated his 90 th birthday and I congratulate you, dear Oleg Aleksandrovich, on this important date. I wish you health and well-being.
Your example, an example of the virtue of the entire generation that lived through the war, is an inspiration to the citizens of modern Russia and is very present in the spirit of those who work in the military and who safeguard our Motherland today.
Colonel Viktor Alekseevich Ren, a space test engineer, is also here. His profession constantly requires both courage and selflessness and he is rightly awarded our country's highest honour, the rank of Hero of Russia.
Today's ceremony for awards and medals is all the more significant because of the number of brilliant recipients.
In this auditorium it is impossible to either single out or to overlook any of these famous, illustrious names. A whole era of our country's achievements is behind each of these names. Evidence of a real national calling and love is behind each of these names. You and your outstanding successes are the pride of Russia, landmarks in the country's history and in the development of its spiritual life and culture.
It is obvious that people who have devoted their lives to creative endeavours keenly feel and perceive events and their times and, most importantly, have the possibility of transmitting that feeling to society. The fruits of your work are more than just a source of pleasure and inspiration. They make people reflect very seriously and inspire profound insights and judgements. Your work is always present. Everybody knows how talented you are. And it is impossible to imagine our national culture without the music of Vladimir Yakovlevich Shainskii and Andrei Pavlovich Petrov, or without the impressions made by the unique dramatic gifts of Liudmila Markovna Gurchenko, Sergei Iurevich Iurskii, Vasilii Borisovich Livanov.
Dear friends! The New Year can be celebrated among a close circle of friends. And the reward ceremony that takes place in December gives us an opportunity to do so.
We have a common cause and are working together to increase the prestige of our country, the prosperity of Russia. But one of today's most important tasks is to transmit to future generations not only the feeling of pride in one's country but also an understanding of what a large contribution they can make to the development of the Motherland, to further strengthening Russia and to increasing Russia's authority in the world.
In conclusion I would like to wish you once again Happy New Year and to wish you, your friends and families health, success, happiness and warmest relations amongst yourselves.
May 2006 be once again a year of grand victories and creative achievements!
Thanks very much for your attention.