President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends,
It is a great pleasure to see you all here as the New Year approaches, and I hope that you are all in a holiday mood. New Year is a holiday we always look forward to, regardless of whether the year was a success or was difficult. According to tradition, this is the time for looking back and summing up the outgoing year’s results.
What are our results? They are not only the figures we use so often to describe current events (what has gone up and what has come down), but are also people, and most importantly, the people here today to receive state decorations. Above all, I want to express to you my sincere congratulations on these decorations you are receiving today. I thank you from all my heart for the work you do for our country and for the victories you have given our homeland.
All of you here today are successful people, and your family members are successful too, because you are successful, and our lives and emotions are built in such a way that one person’s success is projected in the success of those around him or her.
Today, as at all times in its history, our country faces a new set of problems, a new set of challenges, to use the twenty-first century wording. We are, I hope, more or less coping with these challenges. We do need to make substantial change to our economy and social sector, and to our political system too, because nothing remains frozen in time. Even our greatest accomplishments of recent years do not mean that we can now sit back, relax and do nothing. We have to keep working. You provide us with excellent examples of professional work.
As is customary, I will name a few of those being decorated today. This is not a ranking of any sort. It is simply my wish to give a few illustrations of the people present today. Those who I do not name are no less professional and no less heroes in our country’s eyes.
I want to name Alexander Antonov, the train operator of the Nevsky Express. His action helped save many lives. He showed courage, self-possession and high professional standards, and his clear and rapid action deserves the highest praise. Today Mr Antonov is receiving the Order of Courage.
We have many colleagues who have devoted their entire lifetimes to state service, working in our country’s industry and going on to head entire regions. I think this is very important and serious work. One of these people is Eduard Rossel, who has given long years of good honest service to Sverdlovsk Region, putting all his spirit and energy into his work. Mr Rossel is receiving today the Order for Services to the Fatherland, I degree.
As always, today’s ceremony also recognises the achievements of many of the creative people our country knows and loves. They include directors, actors, journalists and many others. All of you possess the rare gift of knowing how to appeal to people’s moods and emotions.
Yelena Obraztsova has won the public’s sincere respect and acclaim. Today you are receiving the Order for Services to the Fatherland, II degree.
Among those decorated today is Genrikh Borovik, one of the leading lights of journalism in our country.
As I said, those being decorated today include people from the arts world, and one of them is Mikhail Boyarsky, who celebrated his birthday just recently and is here with us in Moscow today. I think it is a fine thing to receive a decoration so soon after the birthday celebrations. Mr Boyarsky, I offer you once again my warmest congratulations on your 60th birthday.
I also want today to award state decorations to all those who are helping to make our country more competitive, working on our national goals, developing our economy, financial sector and agriculture industry. They include Director General of the KNAAPO [Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association named after Yury Gagarin] Alexander Pekarsh, and First Deputy Chairman of the Agro-Industrial Union of Russia Vladimir Naumov.
Next year, our country will honour the teaching profession. We have declared 2010 Year of the Teacher. I think this is a very good decision because the selfless labour of these people, who devote their lives to educating our children and young people is absolutely decisive for our country’s future.
The Medal for Services at Sea is being awarded today to Nikolai Zorchenko, captain of the training sailing ship Pallada. He has helped hundreds of young people to become true sailors.
I could continue for a long time yet, and so I propose that we now begin the award ceremony.
I was thinking just now that for anyone, of course, whether well-known or less well-known in the country, it is natural that just the very fact of receiving a state decoration is an event in itself, all the more so when it takes place here in the Kremlin, at the heart of our country. I hope that you are all in a good mood now. But I want to say that I feel just as much pleasure when, as President of the Russian Federation, I award these decorations. Every time these ceremonies take place I think about how strong a country we have, how many different people from different regions and working in different fields are all devoting such selfless and sincere effort to the jobs they love. Today’s end-of-the-year ceremony is no exception, for all of you are true professionals in your fields.
When Mr Rossel received his decoration he said that Sverdlovsk Region is up to any task. I am sure that our whole country and each of our regions can achieve even the most ambitious goals with federal support, capable leadership and, most important of all, the selfless efforts of the people who live there.
We have entered a time when we need not only to consolidate our state and build the framework for our future life – I hope we have done this – but also need to reflect on how to ensure our country’s development in all different areas. We need economic development, though this is a difficult labour, of course, and we also need to develop our political system. But even in sectors seemingly far removed from state affairs – science and culture, for example – we also need development, need to move forward. This does not mean that we should abandon the classics in these fields, for they will always have their place, but we need to think about what legacy we will pass on to future generations, no matter what our field of activity. I am sure that all of you, as successful people, will pass on to your families and to the country a very good legacy, a professional, spiritual and cultural legacy. I hope that next year, our country will find itself in a somewhat better situation than it faced this year.
Yes, we still have our problems. The global financial crisis is not yet over, but I think that the worst is over now, and we have come through it together, in unity, successfully. Now we need to work on a whole number of tasks next year, in the financial and social sectors, but I am sure that we will manage.
I wish you all a happy New Year. Pass on my best wishes to those members of your families not present today. Some of your family members are here, I know. I hope that next year we will have many occasions to talk not just about the problems we face, but to congratulate each other on new achievements. Once again, I congratulate you all.