President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrades,
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your well-deserved awards. I was just observing the progress of the Zapad-2009 military exercises, which are a part of the Autumn-2009 general training.
I must say that everything looked very decent, serious, and true to scale. In recent years, these exercises have become a regular part of our military service. Not long ago, we had problems with trainings like these, but now, we have the ability, the resources, and the determination to hold them regularly.
You have been chosen to receive awards for your participation in the Caucasus-2009 strategic exercises, where you demonstrated your skills, your high professionalism, and most importantly, solid preparation and a good working knowledge of your equipment. Your actions were consistent and effective, and you demonstrated a solid understanding of the challenges standing before you as well as the need to make necessary decisions. This is important to us, especially since you operate in a rather difficult region, the North Caucasus.
The Armed Forces ensure the safety of our nation and the sovereignty of our state. Your make a real input into ensuring security, assuring the national interests of our country, and I hope, improving Russia’s international credibility.
As you know, we passed a National Security Strategy through 2020 in May of this year. An absolute priority of this strategy is the modernisation of our army and navy, equipping our army and navy with sophisticated weapons, and ensuring that our combat units are ready to respond rapidly. There will be serious changes affecting the system for providing support to our troops. We have some long, difficult work ahead of us in shaping the new features of the Armed Forces and in improving the Armed Forces’ combat readiness. Naturally, we will also be addressing social issues such as service pays and housing for our servicemen. I would like to emphasise this one more time. I was just speaking with your younger comrades, and despite the challenging economic environment that we will be working in this and next year, we will nevertheless fully finance social programmes for our servicemen and their families. We understand how important this is for maintaining combat capability of our army. And naturally, in the future, we will be giving this matter our utmost attention.
I would like to take another moment to mention the excellent level of cohesiveness, combat readiness, and training that you have demonstrated during the Caucasus-2009 strategic exercises. I hope that in the future, during similar trainings (which will be happening regularly), you will demonstrate the same excellent level of professional development, and that you will demonstrate all of these qualities when you are faced with more difficult situations, which, unfortunately, can befall any nation, even ours.
I wish you and your loved ones all the best, and I wish you good health!
Congratulations again on receiving these state decorations. I suggest that we now proceed to the award ceremony.
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Comrades, I want to sincerely congratulate you once again.
I am certain that your conscientious, serious service will always be a part of your destiny. I am certain that you will always be proud of the country you serve – our Russia – and that you will be proud of our Armed Forces, because you know better than anyone that the Armed Forces are not made up of abstract units or formal documents, but rather, the people who serve our Motherland – people like yourselves.
Today, you received high-level state decorations, so congratulations again. I hope that this will give you additional motivation to carry out your service. Serving one’s country is not easy, and recognition by the state (after all, a state decoration is a recognition by the government) has always been very important for our servicemen.
I wish you happiness, success, and a healthy, calm family life. I wish you all the best.