An award ceremony was held before the meeting. The President presented the 75 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 anniversary medals to the veterans invited to the meeting: St Petersburg residents Valentina Andronova, Anatoly Klimov, Yekaterina Tuturova and Boris Feofanov.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, veterans,
We are meeting on an important day: on January 18, 1943, the Leningrad and Volkhov battlefront soldiers lifted the siege of Leningrad.
This was a landmark event at the time and it is a landmark for us, for all residents of our huge country, especially for Leningrad and St Petersburg residents, of course, particularly for veterans, who understand what the lifting of the siege of Leningrad meant for the city and the country.
The whole country looked forward to this, especially the residents of the besieged city, who suffered more during the war than anyone, even than people in the most severe battle areas did. This is particularly true of civilians, since Leningrad’s population was 2.5 million people before the war. As far as I know, after the war there were only 400,000. And immediately after the war the number of people who lost their lives was said to be one million, although, in fact, I believe there were many more.
This medal – and I would like to present the veterans with the 75 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 medal – will be awarded to all participants and veterans of the Great Patriotic War. Award ceremonies will be held in all regions of the Russian Federation, in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and abroad at our diplomatic institutions.
Members of the victors’ generation continue to serve today, which I am especially happy to say. They take part in public life actively and help to preserve what lies at the basis of our self-identification, what lies at the core of the existence of the state itself, in particular, our love for our Motherland, our devotion to it, the aspiration to create, and to do everything we can for its future.
Once again, I would like to congratulate everyone on this holiday, the lifting of the siege of Leningrad, and to wish everyone all the best, first and foremost, good health.