Speech at the Celebrations of the 750th Anniversary of Kaliningrad 2005-07-02 11:48:00 The Royal Gates, Kaliningrad President Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, I congratulate you warmly on the 750th anniversary of Kaliningrad, the westernmost border of our country. Many great events in the history of Europe and in that of our own country are associated with this land. It was here that our first contacts with European countries began. It was here that Peter the Great arrived at the head of his famous Great Embassy to Europe. We will never forget the feats of our forebears who outstandingly defended the interests of our Motherland on these Baltic borders on more than one occasion. Russia will continue to pay the necessary attention to developing the city of Kaliningrad and the entire region. We will do this using all the financial, legal and administrative means at our disposal. The leaders of all our country’s regions are present here today to share in this common celebration. I know for certain that they all want to develop relations with Kaliningrad. I am sure that after today we will see new projects, commercial ties and new opportunities that will undoubtedly contribute to the development of Kaliningrad Oblast. We are most certainly interested in developing friendly relations based on a genuine partnership with the European Union and with our neighbouring countries. I am sure that Kaliningrad’s extensive infrastructure, the natural resources it offers, its proximity to the European markets and the advantage for these markets of having the opportunities that Russia offers close by will unquestionably contribute to the development of Kaliningrad Oblast and the city of Kaliningrad. We all have a great interest in this. I know that this restored complex [the Royal Gates of Kaliningrad] have been chosen as the city’s symbol and the site for the celebrations today and I am absolutely certain that we will continue in this way to gradually restore and develop the entire city and region. I congratulate you all most sincerely and wish you happiness and prosperity.