President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, dear friends,
We have invited you all here to this meeting on the eve of that most traditional, if entirely unique, of celebrations that we have here, that is known as the old New Year. But most important thing is that today, here in the hall with us, we have such special guests who rarely come to the Kremlin, to this place which is of particular importance for our country. But we have gathered here today for a special reason: the Order of Parental Glory will be awarded for the very first time, and all those who join us here, are the first people upon whom it will be bestowed.
You have earned this great honour through your unstinting care for your children, by giving them everything that it is in your power to give: love, warmth, and your attention. And this you give not just to your own birth children, but also to those you have adopted. Here, for example, we can welcome the Malcev family from Kurgan region, which comprises in addition to their five birth children, thirteen adopted children.
There are nearly 1.5 million families in Russia which have many children, and one in six children in our country grows up in these large families. In the attention you give to raising your children you set an example to society, and you continue the tradition of parental service, which for centuries has been customary in our country. You certainly give your children all those most important things that are necessary, such as the foundation for normal development so they can approach the future with confidence.
And what is no less important is the fact that a happy family home gives the child a clear example of a normal, happy, well rounded, and successful life. A happy family life best allows all talents and personal abilities to shine through. I know that among those families who are present here today: the Maksimovs, the Malcevs, the Osjaks, the Lyovkins, the Popovs, the Khalikovs, the Gabsaljamovs, and the Novikovs, a great deal of attention is paid to sport, to a healthy way of life, and to the development of the creative potential of every family member. Incidentaly, two of those present today celebrate their birthdays, Alla Alexeyevna Novikova, and Ildar Samatovich Gabsaljamov. Let us congratulate them.
Not long ago we took decisive steps towards developing a comprehensive demographic policy in this country. And last year we had the special “Year of the Family”. It thoroughly vindicated the demographic policy meaures we took. I will not burden you with the statistics, they are not relevant here, but it is important that we projected an increase in the birth rate in our country, and that today’s statistics indicate that those estimates were accurate. That is particularly pleasant. In 2007 the birth rate increased by more than 8% and in 2008 by more than 6%. In addition to that, there is another figure, which in my view is no less important: 75 thousand orphaned children were taken into foster and adoptive families last year, which is also an important indicator for our country.
Dear friends, before the awards ceremony itself begins, I would like to say a few words of particular gratitude to all the women who are here today. There is a wise old saying about how mothers hold the future of the nation in their hands. Of course, we will actively develop social support measures for motherhood and childhood, and will do all we can to uphold the family values. All this, I am certain, will have results, those results which are so vitally important for our country. This is possibly the most important thing we should strive to achieve, irrespective of the economic situation or of any political issues. It is more important than all that.
Let me once more congratulate you all on receiving this state award, and on today’s celebration, let me greet the so called old New Year, by wishing you happiness, harmony, and of course, good humour…Now let the awards ceremony begin.
Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends, I would like once more to give you my heartfelt thanks for all the work you put into your families, for all that you do. I think that the tradition which perhaps begins now, for the first time in our country, of bestowing the Order of Parental Glory, should become a real, fully fledged tradition. It is a very special award. It is given to a family, to two parents, as a symbol of the recognition of the massive human contribution they have made to development of our society, of our country, and signifies the state’s appreciation, state recognition, of all you do at home.
It is an unusual award, and when the decision was taken to institute it, we pondered many different incarnations for it. There was the prior, Soviet, experience, but in the end we decided that it should be constituted so as to value the contribution made by the parents, and that is, I think, proper. That is why once again I would like to congratulate all of you: parents, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and all the children who are here today, with this parental award.
Thank you all! Wishing you a happy holiday, all the very best, and success in everything!