President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, friends, comrades, colleagues.
It has become our country’s tradition that today is the day when, here in this hall, we award state decorations. Present here are people representing all walks of life. Above all, of course, those present today are professionals of the highest level, who have proven their skills and talents over their years of work, and have outstanding personal and career achievements to their names.
First of all, I want to congratulate you from all my heart and thank you for all that you have accomplished in our country’s name.
It may sound like a commonplace, but it is absolutely clear that much depends on your success, because many eyes are upon you and you are an example to a huge number of our people, and above all to our young people, I hope.
I would like to say a few words about those present here today. Of course, I will not be able to speak about each one of you individually, and so please forgive me if I cite just a few examples from among your number.
Viktor Chernomyrdin, a prominent statesman, is awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, I degree. Mr Chernomyrdin has spent his lifetime serving our country in various positions. We all know him well. He is probably one of Russia’s most popular politicians.
Present here today are also people who have performed acts of heroism, performed their duty and risked their lives. First-class test pilot Sergei Barkov is awarded the Order of Courage. He has mastered even the most complicated flying skills, and it was he who was the first to fly the Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopter.
Senior Lieutenant Sergei Barkhatov and Lieutenant Andrei Zaitsev are awarded the Cross of St. George, IV degree, for the courage and bravery they showed in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone.
Also in keeping with tradition, a large number of outstanding figures representing our country’s arts and education are being decorated today. Our brilliant singer, Tatyana Shmyga, is awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, III degree. Also receiving a high decoration today is someone whose bold and ironic works have won the whole nation’s love – Mikhail Zhvanetsky.
Present here today are also people from other professions, workers, agricultural workers, also true masters of their crafts. Milling-machine operator Sergei Bessonov, for example, has mastered the skills required to produce absolutely unique components for our spacecraft.
As I said, I can only cite a few examples from among those present today, but I want to say once again that all of you are recognised leaders in your fields, and we are truly proud of you all.
You are all very modest, and this explains why many of you have said that your awards belong to this or that team. On the one hand, this is indeed the case, because none of us exists in a vacuum: we all have friends, colleagues, loved ones, families. But on the other hand, this ceremony today is direct and clear recognition of your personal work and achievements. It is your achievements that our country is honouring today.
I want to congratulate all of you once again most warmly on these high decorations. I also want to say that we all hope, of course, that you will continue to work just as selflessly, conscientiously, and professionally as you have done all these years, regardless of age.
II remind you that we will soon celebrate our national holiday – Russia Day. No matter in which times we worked – many people here remember various periods, very difficult and dramatic periods, and also joyful times too, for each person has such moments in their life – I hope that today, in this quite difficult time for our country’s development, we can also achieve the greatest success. Most important of all, I hope that everyone watching you today will be inspired by your examples. This seems a simple thing, but it is extremely important, because our choice of examples to follow, of guides to emulate, ultimately plays a crucial part in shaping our entire lives.
On behalf of all of our country’s people, allow me once more to thank you for your work.