President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to wish you a happy Russia Day. Despite its recent history, this is a day of special significance for our country and our people.
Year after year, this holiday has been gradually acquiring a special meaning. Today it signifies not only radical democratic and economic change, not only events in the recent history of Russia, but also the entire powerful age-long history of our nation.
We should value every stage of this history. We should learn from its achievements and victories, understanding the complexity of the dramatic turning points. We have to share the joy of revival and success, and to preserve and develop our best traditions. And we should honour the services of all generations to their Motherland: it was through their labour, courage, wisdom and willpower that the great Russia was built and grew strong.
Our ancestors wanted us to be patriots of our land. They proved on numerous occasions that it was their love for the Motherland that helped them join forces and withstand any trials with honour, to score victory in battle and labour, to achieve outstanding heights of creativity and impressive results in science. And this continuity is being maintained.
We have just had a ceremony for presenting Russia’s National Awards. Our laureates are clearly people with bright personalities, inner freedom and creative generosity. They all share yet another talent: the pride of being an outstanding citizen of their country, of being a patriot.
I would like to congratulate you once again and wish you new success.
This year we are celebrating our national holiday in especially lifted spirits. Crimea and Sevastopol have returned to Russia, to their Motherland.
This historic reunion was peaceful, it happened at the will of the people and in full compliance with international law. What is especially important is that this was fair, and this was ‘for real’, as they say.
Friends, allow me to once again congratulate you on Russia Day and raise a toast to a free and prosperous Russia, to the happiness of our people!
Happy Russia Day!