President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear friends and comrades,
Today we are not summing up results, holding meetings or conferring awards. Today I wanted to be with people for whom I have great respect and who I value for all that you and those who work under you have done over these last years to build Russia and its Armed Forces anew.
All of us recall clearly just what state the Armed Forces were in a few years ago. We all know what tragedy our country encountered, especially in the Caucasus. We know that we have our personal achievements in addressing this situation, but the biggest factor that has enabled us to turn the situation round is the courage of our officers and the heroism of rank and file soldiers. Therefore, of all the tasks that we need to resolve over these coming years, social issues should be given first priority. We still have much to be done in terms of equipping, preparing and manning our Armed Forces, but social issues need to take priority. This concerns all aspects of the problem, above all the housing question. It is my hope that you will make every possible effort to achieve all the objectives before you.