Speech at the State Awards Ceremony 2007-12-13 19:51:25 The Kremlin, Moscow President Vladimir Putin: Good day dear friends! 2007 is coming to an end, and as usual we are interested in taking stock and in working out our plans for the future. Of course each of us here has had his own significant achievements this year. In many ways they are a continuation of your work and the creative paths you’ve chosen, which our distinguished state awards are designed to recognise. Before we begin today's ceremony, I would like to mention the principal thing we have achieved this year. Without a doubt, for the entire country the past year has been, not only more successful and more dynamic, but truly decisive for the future of Russia’s long term recovery. The year has shown that our country has huge potential for future development and has created important new challenges and strategic objectives, not only for those who are actually working in the creative sector, but also for those working in many different areas of activity. This year we have created new opportunities for further strengthening the economy and Russia’s influence in the world. And, of course, we have improved the well-being and quality of life of our citizens. Today we are giving awards to those whose personal efforts, personal successes and extraordinary talents have helped initiate a new era in our history. As you know, in 2007 we have put the emphasis on the importance of the Russian language and Russian culture. Both now and in the future we must do everything we can to ensure that, along with the growth of our economic power, the people creating our national culture become household names in the rest of the world, and that Russian language and literature continue to develop as a means of interethnic and international communication. They must continue to affirm the priceless legacy of the many millions who make up the Russian world. Today I am pleased to single out the merits of those for whom the development of Russian language has been the work of a lifetime, first and foremost two teachers of Russian language and literature: Elena Vasilevna Aksyonova and Svetlana Vasilevna Antonova. True educators and supporters of literature, representatives of the great humanist ideas of our culture, many of those assembled here are artists and creators of various kinds. In this room there are people from many different professions. Everyone knows the names Irina Alexandrovna Antonova, Iuri Petrovich Liubimov and Piotr Naumovich Fomenko. There are people here who have had great success in the workplace and who have contributed to the growth of the country's economy: for example, the head of a kolkhoz Nikolai Arkhipovich Zinoviev, machine operator Victor Ivanovich Volkov and others. I would also like to say that this year we have accomplished a lot in the social and demographic areas. This has led to improvements in the lives of Russian families and to an increase in the birth rate in the country. To support the family, and to concentrate more on its problems, we have declared 2008 to be the Year of the Family in Russia. I am pleased to welcome Galina Nikolayevna Chuvilkin from the Tambov area, a mother who has given birth to and raised nine children. We wish her and all Russian families happiness and prosperity. On this occasion, I would like to wish extend my warmest wishes to everyone for the New Year and Christmas. Thank you very much for attention. *** Vladimir Putin (closing words): Let me once again congratulate you most sincerely for winning these state awards and thank you very much for all that you have done for Russia. Happy New Year!