Excerpts from the Speech at the Ceremony for the Presentation of State Awards 2008-04-29 22:55:07 The Kremlin, Moscow Russian President Vladimir Putin: Good day dear friends! I am very glad to have you here at the Kremlin. According to a long established tradition, I want to personally congratulate you and to present to you the highest awards of the Fatherland. These ceremonies are always solemn occasions, but today’s is particularly significant. It is being held just before our people’s great holiday on 9 May. In this room are people who have won tremendous victories for Russia. There are those among us to whom we owe our greatest, most cherished Victory, without whom we would have nothing of what we currently enjoy. It is you, dear veterans, who have shown the courage and heroism that constitutes the glory of our Fatherland for all time. You have not only given us the possibility to live and work in peace, but by virtue of your human and civic deeds you have set the highest standard of service to your country, a standard by which all subsequent generations will judge themselves. Your service to the Fatherland enabled people to survive the difficult war years and the laborious reconstruction of the country. You helped the country to not only maintain but also increase its dignity, greatness and influence. The hard work, creativity, intelligence and special gifts of the outstanding people gathered here have benefited modern Russia and often prove to be a decisive force in attaining our Fatherland’s most brilliant and important successes. And everything that we have achieved over the past eight years will enable us now to set new, more complex and ambitious goals for the future. There is no doubt we will achieve them, in part thanks to this seamless continuity of generations. And today's ceremony has also brought together veterans of war and labour with those who are about to succeed them. <…> Today we are presenting the country’s highest awards for peaceful achievements in science, medicine and education, and for progress in industry. These achievements are the source of the country’s emerging economic and technological power, its substantial intellectual advances and the well-being of its citizens. They have been supported by our entire system of values and the social traditions created by our multinational culture, its great humanistic and educational power. <…> In conclusion I would like to say the following: it is true that in recent years and in many years previous to them our country has accomplished a lot. Today’s awards are eloquent proof of this. But perhaps the most important thing is not what we have done but that we understand everything that we have not yet done. And we are confident that we can and will to this do this for the good of our people. Thank you very much. I congratulate you on the reception of these awards.