Speech at the Presentation of a Russian Passport to Andrei Shmeman 2004-06-06 13:20:00 Caen, France Vladimir Putin: Good Day, You are a very important person for me, dear Andrei Dmitrievich. We know how dramatic the events of the 20th century were. As a result of these events, millions of our fellow citizens found themselves outside the borders of our homeland, outside Russia. The vast majority of them continued to live for the problems of their country, the problems of their people, and rejoiced in Russia’s successes along with our people, and were saddened by its misfortunes. But many of them, the vast majority – and you are one of them – piously kept the traditions of our country, supported the national culture, the Russian language, and were spiritually always connected with Russia. We know how much you have done to inform people about Russia here, in France, and that have you kept in contact with Russia all these years, and now are actively involved with the revival of military schools, and the cadet movement. This is only one of the things that you do. I am convinced that your experience, knowledge and, most importantly, the state of mind that you have kept all these decades, will undoubtedly serve our country, our homeland. This modest, symbolic gesture, I think, contains a profound meaning. I would like to present you with this passport of Russian citizenship and give you my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude for your service to the country all these years.