The award ceremony marks National Unity Day. Mr Putin also hosted a reception at the Kremlin to mark this national holiday.
The award recipients include citizens of China, Turkey, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Republic of the Congo, Tajikistan, India, Armenia and Spain.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends. Congratulations on National Unity Day!
Russia celebrated this national holiday for the first time 10 years ago. Its establishment and its meaning are about our people’s invincible unity and great responsibility for our country’s fate. These feelings of respect, pride and love of our homeland are the most solid foundation of Russia’s statehood. It is these sincere feelings towards Russia that unite our country’s many different ethnic groups and give us the confidence and strength that only truly devoted citizens can give their homeland. This has been proven by our history, which is literally imbued with this loyalty of our people towards their country.
Today’s holiday also commemorates events that go back many centuries now but remind us of the great civic feat of people of different social and ethnic groups, who put an end to the tragedy of the Time of Troubles and ended their country’s division, betrayal and humiliation. The people decided Russia’s fate, defended its independence, cleansed it of infighting, discord and pretenders, restored lawful power and paved the way to rebuilding a powerful sovereign state.
This and many other feats by our people to save our country were and are sacred examples of genuine patriotism. They are an example of how we should understand and defend our country’s national interests, the important values of human rights, freedom and democracy. At times like ours today, we are acutely aware of the significance of our historical road and of our spiritual and cultural uniqueness.
The great Russian thinker Nikolai Berdyayev, for example, said that “Russia is the Great East-West, an entire huge world in itself.” Essentially, he spoke of Russia’s mission as a strong and independent country that would defend truth and justice and that seeks to bring a spirit of harmony and partnership to relations between people of different cultures and traditions.
Understanding of this historic role forms the base of our people’s identity and in many ways defines our ideals, views and outlook. It shapes our present and even more so our future. We are always open to economic and humanitarian cooperation and to working together to reach common solutions in the fight against modern threats. I would like to express my gratitude to our people, who sincerely, honestly and openly support Russia’s aspirations and actions.
Present here today are many of our friends from different countries. I want to thank you for your dedicated efforts to preserve the wealth of Russian culture and language, and for your educational work, which unites people in different countries and continents. It is with great pleasure that I will personally present to you these well-deserved high state decorations.
Once again, I congratulate everyone in Russia on today’s holiday. I congratulate everyone present in this hall, and all of our compatriots abroad. Your fond feelings for Russia always warm our hearts.