President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear veterans, friends,
This ceremony is taking place with Defender of the Fatherland Day just around the corner, and I want to take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate all Armed Forces veterans and servicemen on the upcoming holiday.
Here today are representatives of different generations of servicemen. Once again, I welcome today the veterans of the Great Patriotic War. We will soon be celebrating together the anniversary of victory. Back then, in 1945, you saved the world, saved our country, defended our future achievements and proved that love for the Motherland and the greatest courage and strength of spirit are what make our army invincible. For various reasons, decorations awarded to our veterans back then, during the war years, have only years later finally reached the hands of the heroes who earned them. Today’s ceremony brings this important work close to completion, and I hope we will have completed it entirely by the Victory Day anniversary.
It was a very emotional experience to open the records on decorations awarded in those years. They constitute a unique testimony to your feats of frontline courage, and it was all these personal acts of bravery that together led us to our great victory.
You serve as moral examples for educating today’s soldiers and officers. Russia’s Armed Forces, along with their high level of professionalism and ability to respond to any challenge, are strong in their martial spirit and heroic traditions. Our Armed Forces today, as in the past, stand watch over our country’s defence capability and play a very important part in ensuring international stability.
Among those decorated today I want to mention Ilyas Daudi, a veteran of the military operations in Afghanistan, and Colonel Yevgeny Fedotov, who took part in the peacekeeping operations in South Ossetia. Their courage has earned them the highest decoration – the Hero of Russia Star.
There is something else about today’s ceremony that is of great significance, even for me personally. This is an absolutely unique event in that it is the first time ever that I have had occasion to award USSR decorations. It is a great honour, and at the same time an emotional event.
The Order of the Great Patriotic War I degree is awarded to Pavel Karnaukhov, a platoon commander in the war years and participant in the battles for Pskov, Narva and Tallinn.
The Order of the Great Patriotic War II degree is awarded to Yakov Ushko. As a motorised platoon commander he took command of a company at a critical moment and held on to a tactically important line. Our veterans were awarded these high decorations back in 1945.
The Order of the Red Star is awarded to Anatoly Gorchakov, a platoon commander during the war years, and Alexander Moskalets, a rifleman in a rifle regiment. Nikolai Novikov, one of the defenders of Leningrad, was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Medal for the Defence of Leningrad for his military services during the war years. Two medals are awarded to Lidia Bushuyeva, a nurse in a mobile field hospital. In 1944 she was awarded the Medal for Services in Battle, and in 1945 the Medal for the Taking of Konigsberg. Signaller Alexander Mikhailov was awarded the Medal for the Defence of Leningrad in 1942, and the Medal for Services in Battle in 1945.