President Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,
Today marks a great event not just in Russian, but in world cultural life, because today we are celebrating the birthday of an outstanding musician and excellent person.
Everything begins to breath talent in Mr Rostropovich’s hands, be it the bow of a cello or the conductor’s baton.
People call Mr Rostropovich a Man of the World, and indeed he is, but I know personally, and many of those here know, just how deep are his feelings for Russia and how strong his love for our country.
There are many people in positions of power, many prominent people in the world who love Mr Rostropovich’s work. His strength lies not in this, however, but in the love of millions of ordinary people.
Mr Rostropovich is not only an outstanding musician. He has also been involved in philanthropic work over the last twenty five years. I recall concrete acts of philanthropy that few know about, such as how he travelled the winter roads between Moscow and St Petersburg, for example, taking medicines and medical equipment to the city hospitals.
Dear Slava [Rostropovich],
We congratulate you from the bottom of our hearts and souls on this jubilee. I want to say that not only do we know and remember your jubilee but will do everything to be worthy of your friendship.
On this occasion of celebration I would like to make it known that I have signed a decree awarding Mr Rostropovich one of Russia’s highest decorations – the Order for Services to the Fatherland I class.