Speech at the Reception for New Graduates of Military Academies and Universities 2005-06-28 16:30:00 Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow President Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, generals and admirals, Today, as is the tradition, the best graduates of military academies and universities in 2005 have gathered here at the Kremlin. I would like to congratulate you on this important step in your careers and thank your teachers for the good job they have done of training senior officers. Over the many centuries of its history Russia has found itself facing many difficult times, but the defenders of our homeland, especially the officer corps, have always risen to defend their home, their native land and their people with their lives, and this has earned them immense public respect and honour. You have graduated from military academies in a significant year, that of the 60th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War. Not only our homeland’s fate but the outcome of the entire Second World War was decided on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. The military skill of our commanders was one of the crucial factors in the defeat of Nazism. In the decisive battles of the war they proved the superiority of their strategies and tactics and brilliantly displayed their mastery of the art of victory. Their glorious names, military skill and victorious traditions will be handed down from generation to generation in our country. I am sure that today’s Russian officers will be worthy of their predecessors’ martial glory and, as in the past, will serve as the state’s principal support in ensuring our national security. Today, victory comes to those who have greater knowledge, to those who have outstanding mastery of the most advanced arms and technology and to those who have a broad outlook. It is officers of this kind who can effectively pursue the ambitious objectives that stand before our Armed Forces today. It is you who bear the responsibility for reliably defending our Motherland in this new twenty-first century. Your professionalism, energy and conscientious approach to your work are the guarantee of our country’s security – the guarantee for the millions of our fellow citizens of a peaceful life and the chance to create and build their future. Comrades, The potential for conflict remains very real in today’s world, including at the borders of our own country. Terrorism and local conflicts destabilise countries and entire regions. It is our duty to do everything necessary to ensure that our Armed Forces meet and respond to the demands of the time and the nature of these threats. Developing our Armed Forces is without question one of the state’s priorities. It is our firm view that Russia’s Armed Forces should achieve a new quality in all areas – in planning, operational and combat training, equipment, military science and education. Considerable attention has been paid to modernising the Armed Forces over recent years. The size and management system of our Armed Forces has been optimised based on the principle of sufficient defence capability. Our troops have received new equipment and arms. According to plan, our Armed Forces are moving over to contract-based service, and this enables us to raise their effectiveness. In this respect, you, today’s officers, have very serious and responsible tasks to shoulder, including the key responsibility of ensuring quality military training for the servicemen. One of our legendary military commanders, the great Suvorov, said, “As are the commanders, so are the servicemen”. It is hard to imagine today an officer without knowledge of both civilian and military sciences, without the ability to put innovation and new knowledge into practice, without a creative approach to his duties. You must be ready to continuously add to the knowledge and skills you obtained during your studies and constantly search for new ways of training and educating the servicemen. And, of course, it is your duty to provide an example of professional and honest service, moral and personal integrity for your subordinates. In conclusion, I would like to once more congratulate you on the successful completion of your studies. I am sure that no matter where you serve, from Kaliningrad to the Far East and from the Arctic reaches to the southern frontiers of our country, you will carry out your duties conscientiously and be an example of loyal service to our homeland. I wish you and your families health and success. Let me raise a toast to the officer corps of Russia! To the continuation of our country’s glorious traditions! To our great homeland! Congratulations!