Ceremony marking the Start of Construction of the Alexander Pushkin Russian-Turkmen School 2007-05-11 20:16:37 Ashgabat President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: Vladimir Vladimirovich, Russian guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Today, on this May day lit up by the bright blue of our sky and the smiles of our children, we have gathered here, in this wonderful corner of our modernised capital to come together in carrying out a necessary and important work for all of us. In Turkmenistan it is tradition that we begin important projects by coming together as a community and starting work in a spirit of common blessing and joy. Today, we welcome the envoys of the great nation of Russia to our ancient land, and we are proud and happy to be cementing our firm and longstanding friendship by laying the foundations of this new school building. Not only will this new school grace our capital, but it will also become a symbol of our cooperation, our good intentions and our radiant hopes. There is deep symbolism in the fact that we are beginning this new stage in our relations by laying the foundations of a school that bears the name of the great Pushkin, one of the world’s cultural geniuses, who believed that education is the engine of human progress. We also share this belief, and this is why we are here, not just to share this idea with each other, but to transform our common belief into action. We hope that this will be just the first of other projects that will serve the cause of the sacred friendship between our peoples – a friendship that has stood the test of time and that has its foundations in a commonality of spirit and history, in invincibility and mutual sympathy. The school that will emerge on this site will soon be a wonderful building to look at. It will be a model example of a modern school, a temple of learning to which one generation after another will come for knowledge. But even now this school, which is already working in an ordinary modest building, expresses our common desire for cooperation of a new kind, cooperation on the cultural basis of constantly renewed knowledge. This means that our cooperation will not stand still, but will constantly grow and develop together with our children and for their sake, in the name of a future full of joy and awareness. It is for the sake of this future that we have begun fundamental reform of the education system in Turkmenistan. In carrying out these reforms we will also turn to our Russian friends for experience and support. We have already received assurance of this support during our first meeting with Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] in Moscow. Now we meet here in Ashgabat to take another important step to bring our peoples, our cultures, closer together and follow the road to peace and prosperity. From our forebears we have inherited clear and pure aims, and our aims should be no other. We carry this legacy of our great leader in our hearts and we are sure that it is shared by all people of goodwill, by all our friends and partners and by all who have gathered here today to ensure that this symbolic stone also becomes part of the foundation of common culture and education for all the peoples of this world united by clear and pure aims. Thank you for your attention. Dear colleagues and friends, I would now like to give the floor to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. President Vladimir Putin: Dear Gurbanguly Myalikkulievich [Berdymukhammedov], Dear friends, This event today is very important and significant. In this year, which we have declared Russian Language Year in Russia, we are laying the cornerstone here in Turkmenistan of a new building for the Alexander Pushkin Russian-Turkmen School. This event has been long-awaited not only by our compatriots but also by the numerous people in Ashgabat who would like to study Russian and would like to see their children study Russian and gain access to the treasures of Russian culture. This is yet further evidence of just how great is the need for direct contact between our peoples. The importance of the Russian language can help to develop these contacts. I particularly want to emphasise that the Russian language remains the key to a whole era of our joint achievements. Russian remains the language of international communication for people of many different nationalities and religions. Finally, Russian has always been a bridge between our two cultures and has helped to cement the solid traditions of friendship that have historically bound our peoples together. I am certain that knowledge of Russian will help people in Turkmenistan, especially the young people, to open up new opportunities and choose a successful and promising road in life. No less important, it will also help them to gain a better understanding of modern Russia, and this will without any doubt have a positive impact on developing the relations between our countries. The Russian-Turkmen School’s teaching staff have made a great contribution to this important work. Over the five years since the intergovernmental agreement on opening this school was signed, you have given several hundred schoolchildren a quality education. You have succeeded in keeping up your creative spirit and in creating one of most popular schools in the Turkmen capital. I hope that this new building, the cornerstone of which we are laying today, will help you to use your talents as teachers and educators to their full measure and to turn this school into another symbol of the friendship between the peoples of Russia and Turkmenistan. Dear friends, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the leadership of Turkmenistan and to President Berdymukhammedov for their active involvement in the school’s destiny. I see the fact that we are here together today as a sign of good augur for the multifaceted partnership between our countries. We will try, through our joint efforts, to ensure that the school is completed to the highest standards and on time. We will do everything necessary to ensure that the school bell is ringing here as soon as possible. I would like to congratulate everyone present on this important event and I wish you all success and prosperity.