The President presented the Hero of Russia Star to test cosmonaut of the Yury Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre Roman Romanenko, who was also awarded the honorary title Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Russian Federation.
The President also presented the Hero of Russia Star to the relatives of Colonel Yevgeny Chernyshev, head of the Moscow fire department of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, who was killed in the line of duty.
Hero of the Soviet Union, Colonel-General of Aviation, and participant in Stalingrad and Kursk battles Vasily Reshetnikov was awarded the Order of Merit. The Order for Services to the Fatherland IV degree was awarded to Great Patriotic War participant Major-General Ivan Slukhai, who served in the Russian Armed Forces for 45 years and now heads the Moscow War Veterans Committee.
Other award recipients include famous scientists, politicians, cultural and artistic figures, journalists, athletes and military servicemen.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Friends, veterans, good afternoon.
First of all, please allow me to sincerely congratulate everyone here on the upcoming celebration of our Great Victory. Sixty-five years have passed since that day, and overall, it is clear to every sensible person on our planet that in these years of peace, which were won at a very high price, the world has changed. Our people provided other peoples and ourselves the opportunity to live and develop freely. I think that this is most valuable. We have had the opportunity to bring about outstanding achievements, to advance our science, to make discoveries, and to develop global culture, as well as our national culture. Without the victory in 1945, it would have been impossible to accomplish these things, and today’s world would be very different. We must always remember this.
Today is a special, ceremonial day, and I would like to say a few words about the people who will be receiving state decorations.
First of all, I would like to welcome Hero of the Soviet Union Colonel General Vasily Reshetnikov. During the war, he as pilot completed over 300 combat missions and participated in the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk. The Tu-160 strategic weapons carrier that will fly in the parade over the Red Square in several days bears Vasily Reshetnikov’s name. Few people know that back in 1942, Mr Reshetnikov performed heroic air raids on the capital of Nazi Germany together with several other pilots.
An order for non-military achievements is also awarded to another Great Patriotic War participant, Major General Ivan Slukhai who served in the Armed Forces for 45 years, and today he heads the Moscow Committee of War Veterans, carrying out important work on the patriotic education of young people.
The best representatives of Russia’s Officer Corps, who will be receiving state decorations today, remain true to the traditions of the older generation.
Today, all of Russia knows the name of the head of Moscow’s Firefighters, Yevgeny Chernychev. Russia has always had and continues to have heroes that are ready to sacrifice themselves for other people, and Yevgeny Chernychev is a vivid example to that. Yevgeny Chernychev is receiving his Fatherland’s highest decoration posthumously. I will present the Gold Star medal [of Hero of the Russian Federation] to his family. I express my deepest condolences to you. Your husband and father is now the pride of Russia and will always be an example for an enormous number of people.
Dear friends, the people invited to this hall today have proven their commitment to the high ideals of serving our nation through their outstanding achievements in science, the arts, sports, military service, and economy. They have made and continue to make a significant personal input into the development of our homeland.
Next year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Yury Gagarin’s flight in space. The launch of our planet’s first manned spaceship opened a new era in the development of our civilisation. For nearly half a century, Russia has continued to explore near-Earth space. Even in spite of various difficulties, we did not shut down these programmes demonstrating that our nation remains a strong and mighty power. This is thanks in part to people like Roman Romanenko, who is awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation. Mr Romanenko is a second-generation cosmonaut following the professional path of his father, twice Hero of the Soviet Union Yury Romanenko.
Anatoly Savin, a distinguished scientist, designer, and research director of Concern PVO Almaz-Antey, is also receiving a high decoration. A month ago, on April 6, Mr Savin celebrated his 90th birthday. Let’s congratulate our distinguished scientist once again.
Today, we also have here many representatives of our culture, who shape the moral environment and the attitudes in our nation. Of course, among them is composer Alexandra Pakhmutova. Ms Pakhmutova, you are loved by millions of our people. Today we are awarding you the highest Order for Services to the Fatherland, I degree.
A great contribution has been made to the development of Russia’s theatrical school by Vladimir Zeldin, who is a legend of Russian cinema. I am genuinely happy to see him here and would like to sincerely congratulate him once again on this decoration, although we met recently during his 95th birthday celebration.
Dear friends, among us today are some truly exceptional people. I cannot name all of them in my opening remarks, but I would like you to know that my cordial words pertain to everyone in this hall. I want to once again sincerely congratulate you, and wish you health and success.
Let us move on to the award ceremony.