”We have made improving military education such a big priority today and are bringing our military education system into line with today’s demands for qualified officers. These efforts follow a single aim: tomorrow’s officers must have the skills and knowledge not only to meet today’s needs but also future demands.“
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrade officers!
I congratulate you on the successful completion of your studies and your graduation from our country’s military academies, universities and institutes. For each of you this moment is perhaps one of the most important pages in your service and your lives. Today, you stand before the opportunity to serve with success and grow as professionals. You possess what is needed above all else – youth and energy, and a desire to work for the good of our country. You have modern skills and knowledge, and, I hope, excellent military training, and many of you already have combat experience. Specialists such as you are very much needed in our armed forces.
We are in the process of modernising our Armed Forces, and this requires hard daily effort to strengthen and renew them. We approved our National Security Strategy until 2020 in May 2009, and our new Military Doctrine in February this year. It will be your task to transform military units into permanently combat-ready units, optimise manpower levels and composition, equip them with modern arms and military equipment, and quite simply create the new face of our armed forces. This work is already underway today.
I want to repeat here today that the changes now taking place in our armed forces are being made in order to meet the demands of our times and the demands of the changing global situation. Russia has a duty to offer its citizens reliable protection and respond adequately to any threats, no matter what their origin. We therefore need modern, mobile and combat-capable armed forces. The programme to provide the armed forces with modern arms and equipment calls for new approaches and professionally trained officers, and this is why we have made improving military education such a big priority today and are bringing our military education system into line with today’s demands for qualified officers. These efforts follow a single aim: today’s students and tomorrow’s officers must have the skills and knowledge not only to meet today’s needs but also future demands.
We are working hard today to resolve the social issues affecting servicemen and their families. We began this work a while ago and will see it through to its completion despite the financial and economic difficulties that have come up along the way. These efforts focus above all on paying our servicemen decent wages and resolving housing and other problems of daily life. Over the last few years, tens of thousands of officers have received the keys to new apartments, and we will continue this work, fulfilling all of the commitments that the state made. We will ensure that every single officer in our country has a home of his own.
I repeat too that the prestige of a military career and the status of those who defend our country – subjects we speak of often – must indeed be at the centre of the state authorities’ attention. Not only the Commander in Chief and the Defence Minister must make this their priority, but so must all those responsible for our country’s life at federal, regional and even local level. The defence of our homeland is our common responsibility.
Comrades, when you arrive at your new posts of duty you will be called upon to play your part in all of the work I mentioned just now, called upon to help create the new face of our armed forces. You need to be prepared for this work. The military academies, universities and institutes have given you a base, but you know yourselves that this is just the start of military careers, and that the most difficult tasks are yet to come. Technical knowledge is essential in today’s conditions, of course, but this is just one component of success. Also essential for success are your inner state and strength, your ability to resolve complex and difficult tasks, uphold the moral climate in the armed forces, strengthen discipline, and create fighting spirit. These qualities have always distinguished our armed forces, and have always made it possible for us to defeat the enemy. Military service will never be easy. I am absolutely certain that you understand this yourselves, and I am equally certain that you are ready for this, ready to serve your country.
Once again, I congratulate you on the successful completion of your studies. I wish you and your families good health and prosperity, and I propose that we raise our glasses to our officer corps, to peace and prosperity in our world, and to our country, to Russia!