President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I want to say thank you very much. I found it very interesting to see the results of your work.
I do not want to say banal words, but what you are doing really is exceptionally important for our country. Your work contributes to our sense of identity. If we know and remember our own history, we owe this remembrance to our soldiers too. It is not easy work that you are doing, but it is a noble and truly patriotic undertaking.
Your work is the very example of genuine patriotism, and not patriotism for show. We have plenty of examples of surrogate patriotism, in the arts too. The films many watch today educate through the example of others’ patriotism. They are good films, quality films, but we have too few of our own films. Making a film is an artistic endeavour, but what you do is real work in the field. On behalf of our country, I simply want to say thank you very much.
I hope that you will continue this work, and that we will continue to see its results in the artefacts you find, and of course, in the burial of our fallen soldiers.
Question: Dmitry Anatolyevich, did anyone in your family fight in the Great Patriotic War, and did any of your family members lose their lives?
Dmitry Medvedev: I had family members who fought, of course. My paternal grandfather fought, and my maternal grandfather also. Fortunately, they both survived and returned home.
My paternal grandfather fought in Kuban and took part in the campaign at Malaya Zemlya, famous since the Soviet period. That really was a terrifying experience. He went through some real ordeals there, was wounded, and was decorated.
My other grandfather also took part in battle. In this respect, my family went through what most Soviet families of that time were going through. We were lucky that all of our close relatives survived.
Response: That’s a good thing.
Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, it’s a good thing of course, and most importantly, it gave me much at the personal level, because I remember how when I was your age, or perhaps even younger, I spent quite a lot of time talking with my grandfathers, and listening to them tell their stories with great emotion, with tears in their eyes. That kind of contact shapes your attitude, how you see the war, and it is truly invaluable. This was something that was very important to me.
Question: Dmitry Anatolyevich, we have a subject of concern. We know that amendments are being drafted to the law on immortalising memory. We would not want the work of youth search organisations like ours coming to a halt.
Dmitry Medvedev: Who said that there is any plan to stop you from continuing your work?
To be honest, I do not know all the details of these amendments, but I am sure that if they are passed, they will be absolutely reasonable. Since you have raised the issue, I will keep watch on developments. No one is going to shut you out of this work. On the contrary, you are in the vanguard of these efforts.
I wish you success, and I hope that everything works out well for you.