Kavkaz 2012 military exercises 2012-09-17 21:30:00 Krasnodar Territory Vladimir Putin observed the Kavkaz 2012 military exercises at the Rayevsky training ground. The exercises are scheduled to take place between September 17 and 23, 2012 at four firing ranges in the Southern Military District, as well as water zones in the Black and Caspian Seas, with participation of some 8,000 servicemen, over 200 combat vehicles, vessels and motorboats. Following the active phase of the exercises, the President spoke with veterans who had also observed the exercises. Later, Mr Putin presented state decorations to fourteen servicemen. * * * Speech at Russian Federation state decorations presentation ceremony President of Russia VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good evening, comrades, Comrades, I am very glad to be here with you today, at these exercises, and to present these Russian state decorations to officers, sergeants and soldiers who have particularly distinguished themselves, servicemen of the Southern Military District army units and of the Black Sea fleet units. The orders and medals are being awarded to you for your strenuous military work, your military service, excellent achievements in your combat training. Among the awardees are both highly-experienced and distinguished soldiers and officers, and young service members. Each of you worthily fulfils your military duties and your service, whose purpose is to serve your Fatherland. People like you, who are committed to your duty, true professionals, individuals who know the true value of bravery and serve their Fatherland selflessly, have always made up the backbone of the Army and the Navy. Today, here in the south of the country, we are holding the large-scale Kavkaz 2012 military exercises. It is enough to note that they span over four major army firing ranges, as well as water zones in the Black and Caspian Seas. Critical issues in troop management and staff coordination are being practiced. Here, the most important elements of modern-type combat are employed, not just on maps, but in field conditions, improving training and mastery for commanders and soldiers. Overall, this is the way to shape the new Russian Army and Navy, strengthening our national defence potential. These exercises have one objective: the Armed Forces must demonstrate their preparedness to defend our national interests and show that they are ready to decisively rebuff any threats or challenges to Russia’s national security. Comrades, your units and subdivisions are actively participating in the Kavkaz 2012 exercises. I know that all the soldiers and officers are acting with full dedication, striving to show the best results. I had the opportunity to observe your combat training. I must tell you honestly that it made a real impression, especially given how circumstances change. I had the chance just now to talk with veterans, whom we all love and respect, and who know the price of victory. I must say on their behalf that the results you have demonstrated clearly deserve the highest rating. Thank you for your service. I wish you success in your military work. Thank you. <…> Vladimir Putin: Comrades, award recipients, I am certain that these will not be the last awards you receive. I am confident that everyone who is present here, including those who already have state decorations and those who have not yet received them, will serve Russia commendably. Your colleague who just spoke, expressed thanks for the decorations and expressed his view on what is happening today in the Armed Forces – mentioning the weaponry supplied to the army and the social problems [of the military] being resolved. I want to confirm that this is exactly how it will be from now on. We will strengthen our country’s defence capacity. The significance of your work, the significance of your service to the Fatherland, will only grow. You are perfectly educated, you are all intelligent people who see what is happening in the world – you see how, unfortunately, the use of force is increasing in international affairs. This means, we must stay prepared and increase Russia’s defence capabilities. Our colleague stated that it is an honour to serve one’s Fatherland in present-day conditions. I should tell you that serving your Fatherland is always honourable. I think he just chose his words imprecisely, and I understand what he meant: it is always an honour to serve the Fatherland. Even during the most difficult times, when we didn’t have the resources we have today and could neither supply new arms nor properly resolve social problems, there always were people in the army who selflessly protected our Fatherland, who did not whine or pester to get anything, but who, when necessary, stood up and went into battle. These people were not afraid of anything; they believe in their Fatherland and love it. I know that those present here are exactly this kind of soldiers in the broad sense of the world, regardless of your ranks, stripes or decorations – people who are soldiers at heart, individuals who are devoted to their Fatherland. I wish you success. Thank you very much for your work.