President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev:
Good afternoon, friends,
Today is Russia Day. I would like to extend my warmest greetings to you and all Russians on this national holiday.
We all remember the origins of this holiday, the events of 20 years ago that mark the beginning of fundamental democratic changes in this country. Those changes were crucial for the unchecked development of individual liberties and healthy economy and an all-round evolution of the entire society.
At the time, the whole world stood on the threshold of major transformations and the new Russia played its own vital role in the process. Today, as a free country and an influential member of the international community, Russia takes active part in tackling a wide range of global challenges.
Our most important goal, however, is the progress of our own nation. Its future is being built now and depends on our success in modernising the economy and the evolution of our civil society. In achieving these goals we rely on the people whose energy, talents and initiative go far towards making Russia a leader in current competitive world.
Nowadays this aim is within our reach. My certainty is rooted in the wealth of our national intellectual and creative potential, which is essentially limitless. Testimony to this are the achievements of those
who are to receive Russia's most prestigious awards today.
Their achievements are well known and valued by the government and are an inspiration for the younger generation whose interest toward science, arts and literature is, as we all can see, as high as it has always been, and this is probably of special importance.
As you now, we instigated special presidential awards for young scientists two years ago. During the selection process we learn of new names and new ambitious projects that deserve to be put into reality and widely disseminated. I am confident that the ranks of our young creative professionals and talented individuals include many of those who equally deserve attention and encouragement. I think we will introduce a new award for young professionals in the field of culture.
I would like to say a few words about the winners of awards. This year it will be half a century since lasers were invented. Let me remind you that Russian scientists Nikolai Basov and Alexander Prokhorov received the Nobel Prize for this invention back in 1964. Until now we retain leadership in this field, which gives us great satisfaction and pride.
His research in the field of free electron lasers has brought world fame to another Russian scientist, Nikolai Vinokurov. The first ever is an accurate description of all he has been doing.
Since his invention of optical klystrons, all free electron lasers operating on electronic storage devices throughout the world are based on the optical klystron scheme.
Now he is involved in a new project. A team in Novosibirsk working under his guidance is designing a device capable of generating laser beams hundred-fold more powerful than any similar designs abroad.
Our winners today also include Vladislav Panchenko, Alexander Potapov and Valery Chissov. They have created a unique system for remote production of individual implants and bio-models.
Their creative partnership has made a significant contribution to advancing hi-tech medicine, the medicine of the future. This technology, employed in many hospitals across Russia, makes it possible for neurosurgeons and oncologists to perform less invasive operations, saving organs and reducing the time when the patient is under general anaesthetic.
The award will also go to Valentin Parmon, who has invented radio-thermal catalysis, an entirely new field. He has developed highly efficient catalysts for processing raw hydrocarbons and introduced new methods of converting solar energy into chemical energy.
His other inventions include an accompanying petrol gas processing technology, the first of its kind, which is already used in the industry. Many Russian oil companies employ his catalysts for engine fuel production.
As we can see, in addition to making brilliant discoveries, this year's winners of National Awards have also distinguished themselves in applied science, which is vitally important for introducing high technology into our lives.
Let us go on to the winners of National Awards in Literature and Arts. They include a man whose name is well known globally: Yevgeny Yevtushenko. He belongs to the wave of poets and writers who received a creative impetus during the Khrushchev's Thaw.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko has made his mark as a film director, an actor, a scriptwriter and a photographer, but his true calling is poetry. In essence, his poems became a manifesto for a whole generation and enjoy deep affection of many Russians to this day.
It gives me great pleasure to state than the love for classical culture remains deep in Russia. We see a return of true art to our society, and I hope also of great artistic taste, civic conscience and spirituality, which have always been a feature of Russian culture. The achievements of Sergei Dzevanovsky and Denis Matsuev testify to this.
It is difficult to overestimate the contribution of Sergei Dzevanovsky to educating musicians of the highest calibre. As director of the Glinka Choir College in St Petersburg for over twenty years, he has created a unique choir with an international reputation. The choir tours around the globe representing our country which has successfully preserved its original choir tradition.
Denis Matsuev is a brilliant young pianist who has performed with great success on the world’s most prestigious stages. It won't be an exaggeration to say that Denis Matsuev is Russia’s pride. His touring schedule is full for years ahead but, remarkably, he finds the time to take part in his country's public life.
He gives his boundless energy to charity work, new projects and support of young musicians. Yesterday Denis Matsuev turned 35 and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a happy birthday.
I congratulate you once again on receiving the National Awards. I am sincerely grateful for your great work and outstanding achievements.
I would like to stress that your success not only brings prestige to your country but also helps many people to believe in themselves. Your example and your dedication to your profession is truly an inspiration.
I wish you new creative triumphs and good health. And once again, I congratulate everybody on our national holiday, Russia Day.