President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear laureates, dear friends,
First of all, I want to welcome you and congratulate you on the Day of Russia. This national holiday is even younger than our country itself and is directly connected to today’s events and to our daily lives. At the same time, it gives us the chance to look back over our history, look at events far in the past now and others that are still just recent, and gain a deeper awareness of our responsibility for our country’s future.
Russia is a country with immense intellectual potential. We say this often without really thinking about the full meaning of these words. But I think this is our country’s main competitive advantage. Today, more than ever, we need to make the greatest use of this advantage, and this means creating more space for freedom, creativity and competition, and channelling ideas and new developments into a technologically well organised commercial process.
If we want Russia to be a strong and advanced country we have to create a comfortable environment for our people to live and work in, an environment that will satisfy even the most demanding, energetic and independent among us, those who want to and can take responsibility for their own destinies, who are full of aspirations for the future and ready for development.
The awards will be presented now to people who have achieved success in their professions and made a unique contribution to our common development and our common national capital.
Dear friends, the success story of one of our laureates, Evgeny Kaspersky, represents an unfortunately still too rare case of closing the gap as much as possible between creativity and the subsequent commercial development and use of the technology it gives birth too. Mr Kaspersky’s work in computer security is based on innovative and very interesting solutions. Big state and commercial organisations in more than 100 countries and hundreds of millions of people all around the world use products developed by Kaspersky Lab today.
Among this year’s laureates is Joseph Atabekov. He is the founder of molecular biology of plant viruses as a new area of scientific study in our country. Practically all of the specialists working in this field are his students. His discoveries laid the foundation for developing virus-free plant growing in our country.
UNESCO has declared this year the International Year of Astronomy, a science that has captured people’s interest for as long as human civilisation has existed. Right from ancient times the world’s great scientists have devoted themselves to its study.
Among Russian researchers in this field today are academicians Dmitry Varshalovich, Alexei Fridman and Anatoly Cherepashchuk. Their research has changed modern thinking about the stars’ life cycles and has opened the road to new areas of study in astrophysics that make it possible to forecast global astrophysical processes in the universe. Their work is an inspiration to young scientists. This year, on Science Day, I awarded for the first time the Russian President’s Prize to talented young scientists, one of whom was an astrophysicist.
I want to add that another tradition was born last year: the National Award winners in science and technology gave public lectures. I think this is a useful and very logical initiative, and it is a tradition practised all around the world. I think that in our country too we should try to give as many people as possible the chance to hear these lectures, and I hope that they will get coverage in the mass media.
Turning now to literature and the arts, the Sverdlovsk Academic Philharmonic and its directors, Alexander Kolotursky and Dmitry Liss, are well known throughout Russia and abroad. Their talent and modern management skills have made the philharmonic a unique cultural centre popular with all kinds of people, from students, pensioners, children from children’s homes, to the demanding public that attends prestigious international festivals.
The National Award has also been presented to Anatoly Prokhorov, Salavat Shaikhinurov and Ilya Popov, the creators of the well known Smeshariki programme. This programme blends the best traditions of Russian animation with sensitive and discreet lessons on how to be more tolerant, friendly, and how to learn to help each other out – lessons that are important for us all, and all the more so for our children. Children find the programme vivid and interesting, and also importantly, it is also a commercial success.
In her more than 40 years as head curator of the Pavlovsk Park, Marina Flit has accomplished a work of truly unique significance. This masterpiece of landscape art was severely damaged during the Great Patriotic War. Thanks to the talents and determination of Ms Flit and her colleagues the park has now been restored to its original state. Her work has been described as setting a benchmark in scientific restoration. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ms Flit personally: I often spent time in the Pavlovsk Park when I was a child, and it is indeed a unique place.
Of course, it is also my sincere pleasure to welcome to the Kremlin Valentina Tereshkova, the winner of the National Award for humanitarian work. She has done much to develop relations between peoples. She was the first woman in space, the symbol of a new era, as it was just said before here, and her name has gone down in the history of space exploration and human civilisation. There can be no overestimating the value of her many years of public work, first as chairwoman of the Committee of Soviet Women, then as head of the Russian Centre for International Scientific and Cultural Cooperation, and finally in her native Yaroslavl Region, where she is a member and deputy speaker of the regional parliament.
Dear friends, dear laureates,
Each of the winners have their own unique talents and achievements, but you probably all have something in common too – the ability to bring together and unite truly creative and enthusiastic people.
Your achievements are an excellent example full of optimism and confidence in Russia’s future. Russia’s greatest wealth was always its people, and this will never change. I firmly believe this and I want to thank you once more most sincerely for your outstanding achievements.