Visit to Russian Army Theatre 2012-02-22 21:30:00 Moscow The President attended a gala concert celebrating the Defender of the Fatherland Day. * * * Speech at gala concert celebrating the Defender of the Fatherland Day President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good evening, comrades and friends, I congratulate you all on the Defender of the Fatherland Day! Following tradition, February 23 is a day when we honour people whose life is closely tied to the Armed Forces, those who are ready to counter any threats to our security and help our nation day and night with weapons in their hands. Choosing a military career always elicits feelings of deep, sincere respect in any normal nation. And I would like to once again take this opportunity to thank you for your selfless service, for your devotion to your nation. This year, we mark a special anniversary in the formation of our nation. Our state has been developing for about eleven centuries and this development has been rich with examples of courage, strength of spirit, bravery, and heroism. Naturally, we must hold sacred the memory of our forefathers’ feats. On this day, in this hall, I am expressing sincere words of gratitude to veterans of the Great Patriotic War, to all who fought and who worked behind the lines during this very difficult time. Let’s thank our veterans one more time. Life on our planet is becoming increasingly complex; there are new threats to our security and instability is on the rise spreading to whole regions. It is also alarming to see that force-based methods are still being used in the world to resolve problems and conflicts. Thus, given these conditions, any nation must know how to defend itself. For Russia, the largest nation on the planet, having modern and highly efficient Armed Forces is not just a necessity, but a matter of survival. That is precisely why in all these recent years, we have worked to modernise and improve our Armed Forces, and I feel that we have already reached certain results: not in all areas, but in certain, perhaps the most critical areas. Our troops have switched to a new management structure, gradually getting rid of ‘non-core’ functions. The state arms programme that will run until 2020 provides for renewing 70 per cent of all types of armaments, and up to 100 per cent for specific types. We have new troops to take up combat duty, including the Aerospace Defence Troops, and new missiles are being deployed. However, regardless of the weapons we create (this is our duty and naturally, we will fulfil everything we have planned), it is extremely important to remember that there are people behind all of these processes. So, taking care of those who have chosen the service in the Armed Forces as their primary occupation remains a priority in the development of our state. In recent years, I feel we have made progress in this area and created a new system of increasing social guarantees for service members. This involves new military pay and resolving the housing issue. All this should help those who serve in the army to focus on fulfilling their main tasks in combat training; meanwhile, their families should feel comfortable and protected. Clearly, there is more to be done and much of the work is still ahead of us. I sincerely hope that everyone present here and everyone serving in our Armed Forces will participate in this work. Comrades, according to tradition, many of you will be celebrating your professional holiday today and tomorrow at your posts. The fact that our Armed Forces are currently capable of resisting any other armed forces, repelling any threat to our national security, gives our country confidence in the future. Thus, I want to congratulate you on this holiday once more, wish good health to all of you, your loved ones, everyone present here today and everyone currently at their posts. Happy Defender of the Fatherland Day!