President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear veterans! Dear comrades and friends!
I am very glad to be meeting with you today. Of course first and foremost I would like to congratulate you on the upcoming great holiday, Victory Day. And I want to wish everyone here long life, health, and of course a cheerful disposition. I think that on this day your moral principles and the powers of endurance that you developed during your service and that have marked your whole lives will help you to stay ‘in the ranks’ and to communicate to the young what you experienced. And I would like to thank you as well for the energy and spiritual dedication with which you carry out this work and to say how important it is for all of us.
I think that today we are going to talk about the upcoming Victory Day, about how this Victory was forged, and how it was viewed immediately after the Great Patriotic War. We will be talking about how people occasionally try to reinterpret these events. I believe that we must respond to such things. In any case, in 1945 our nation proved that nobody can impose its will on us and that any act of aggression would be fiercely repelled. I have to say that these were without doubt the most important and the most difficult events of the past century.
With us here today there are veterans of the Great Patriotic War, members of other armed conflicts and wars, and representatives of various veterans' organisations. I would also like to hear from you about your current problems and about what you think it would be appropriate to do in anticipation of the 65th anniversary of Victory.
For my part I would like to say, or perhaps it would be better to say I would like to assure you, that of course we will continue to deal with veterans' problems – obviously first and foremost social problems – related to transport, drugs and medical services, and we will work on developing high-tech medical assistance. All of this is a normal part of the state's obligations and the state will meet them. There must be no talk of cutting corners here, even in the difficult period in which we find ourselves, even in the crisis, including the economic crisis, that not just our country but the entire world is facing; on such expenses the state will not economise.
By the anniversary of the Victory the state must resolve the series of issues to which I referred, and one of the first executive orders that I signed was about housing for veterans of the Great Patriotic War. I believe that we have everything we need, including material resources, because the designated funds, including an increase required by changes in the plans concerning the size of apartments, were included in the budget. Of course we will meet all these challenges, including the challenge of providing housing, by the date that I have indicated, namely the 65th anniversary of the Victory.
We have organised this meeting because this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Over the years in total 13,000 people had been awarded this title, most of them — 11,695 people — for feats performed in the Great Patriotic War. And in this room today there are heroes who received their awards during the Great Patriotic War.
There is another issue to discuss. I recently signed an executive order On the ‘65th Anniversary of Victory in the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War's Jubilee Medal. At the upcoming celebration these medals will be awarded not only to veterans from the Russian Federation but also to those from the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, citizens of other countries that contributed to the Victory, and those who have received awards of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. I think this is a just way of proceeding, because it was a very difficult page for all of us in our history, in our common history.
Dear veterans! Dear colleagues, dear comrades!
I will now ask the heads of federal ministries to say a few words. Of course I'll be giving the floor to veterans, to representatives of the Russian Association of Heroes and to leaders of veterans' organisations throughout Russia. And I hope that the ministers will be reporting on what has been done and what will be done in the lead-up to the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.