Speech at the Russian Federation National Awards presentation ceremony 2016-06-12 13:00:00 The Kremlin, Moscow President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Laureates, friends! Let me congratulate you and all citizens of our country on Russia Day. This holiday expresses such important values as the Motherland, patriotism and the unity of our people, and reflects our warmest and sincerest feelings for Russia, our responsibility for its present and future. Russia Day symbolises the journey of our country throughout the ages, the shared destiny of its multiethnic people, which has left a great legacy to current generations: traditions of living together in peace and harmony, reverence for the Motherland, feats of labour and war. We feel this bond that spans time, and often we can find answers to today’s most pressing questions in our history, its events and the destinies of our great ancestors. Our traditions and their continuity reveal the importance of humanism, education, science and the arts today. There is a reason the National Awards are presented to outstanding figures in science and culture on Russia Day. This solemn ceremony is a profound testament to their achievements and service to the Motherland. Laureates, I would like to sincerely thank you for your conscientious and dedicated service to Russia, society and our people. Each of you has your own life story, your own way of realising your abilities and talents, but you share a commitment, a dedication to your work. You managed not only to recognise your calling and understand its importance but to follow it to such great heights. Such a creative feat can only be achieved by extraordinary, strong, generous and courageous people – people who possess an inner freedom and an honest, heightened perception of reality, people whose work and profession are their life’s purpose. Let me say a couple of words about each laureate. Academician Erik Galimov belongs to that class of scientists who work on a wide range of tasks, both fundamental and applied. The pioneer of a new field – isotope biogeochemistry – Mr Galimov founded a scientific school with his paper “Global Carbon Cycle: Mantle – Crust – Ocean – Atmosphere”, made a huge contribution to research on the formation of oil, gas, diamonds, and explained the origin of Western Siberia’s giant natural gas deposits. His research focus was heavily influenced by the work of Vladimir Vernadsky on the biosphere of Earth. Erik Galimov not only became the editor of the first complete collection of works by this great scientist, but also continued his research into the origin of life. He used research in geochemistry to propose his own hypothesis of our planet’s evolution. Genome and post-genome technology is the field of research of the outstanding biologists Sergei Lukyanov and Yevgeny Sverdlov. These scientists work in the field of genetics which, over the last few decades, has made enormous strides in understanding the nature of life, its molecular foundations, and the inheritable data of people. Medical genomics is rightly considered one of the most promising fields today, and our laureates created technologies that make it possible to identify critical genes and reveal the subtlest differences in their functioning. This has opened up new opportunities for studying the causes of diseases, as well as their diagnosis and treatment. A host of technologies developed by these two scientists has accelerated the development of biological and biomedical research not only in Russia but around the world. Deep research into the mechanisms of molecular immunity is facilitating substantial progress in medicine, and Russian scientist and immunologist Sergei Nedospasov has made a foundational contribution to this field. His research is dedicated to studying immune processes and developing new approaches to biotherapy. Sergei Nedospasov’s work successfully fuses cellular biology, molecular immunology and immunochemistry. The results have opened up immense prospects for creating modern, unique medical treatments. I would like to underscore that the work of all National Award winners not only expands the frontiers of knowledge, but have enormous practical applications, yielding significant benefits for the country and our people. Each of you represents a scientific school founded by your teachers, and today it is you who are leading teams of researchers and nurturing a new generation of scientists. Your experience and the traditions of your mentors live on and flourish in their views, deeds and aspirations. All of this directly influences the development of people’s character and forms the moral and spiritual environment they inhabit. Of course, a special place rightly belongs to culture and art in this respect, not least the Russian theatre. Artistic director of the Maly Drama Theatre – Theatre of Europe Lev Dodin is another National Award winner. He is, without question, one of the greatest modern directors. His productions are meditations on good and the evil, the purity of intentions, and betrayal; they leave a mark on the hearts of viewers, evoke their sympathy, trigger powerful emotions and make them believe in the best, and leave long-lasting impressions. Over many years of work, Lev Dodin has affirmed the idea that the artistic development of the theatre is the development of the collective soul. He has always passionately defended the benefits and traditions of the Russian repertory theatre; he values the company and actors as a community of like-minded individuals and collaborators. Theatre is Mr Dodid’s home, family, platform, manifesto, quest, joy and, as he says himself, “a continuation of life and perhaps something even larger than life.” I believe Viktor Zakharchenko, artistic director of the Kuban Cossack Choir, would share this assessment of his artistic life. He has been leading this choir for more than 40 years. His talent and organising skill have helped popularise the art of folk signing. The Kuban Cossack Choir has become a hallmark of Russian folk culture, and interest in it continues to grow not only in our country but far beyond as well. Viktor Zakharchenko has written more than two hundred compositions for choir and arranged thousands of folk songs. He also spearheaded the creation of the Russian National Association of Russian Folk Choirs and Ensembles. Today's award recipients include film director Sergei Ursulyak. His films deal with difficult, pivotal periods in our history. They are notable for their unflinching, deep analysis of events, as well as human relationships and characters. From his very first films, Mr Ursulyak showed himself to be an entertaining and highly professional director. His television series instantly captivated viewers and brought him success and respect. Each of the director's works carefully and honestly reflects the spirit and atmosphere of the era in question, and are distinguished by an emotional intensity and a special, poignant intonation. Undoubtedly, Mr Ursulyak is a worthy representative of the best traditions of Russian cinema. The National Award for outstanding humanitarian achievements has been justly conferred on Valery Gergiev, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre. Mr Gergiev is truly a unique, multifaceted and, I would say, incomparable man. He effortlessly combines the qualities of a musical genius, organiser and teacher. The scope of his work is immense. He takes on the most difficult and challenging educational projects and executes them brilliantly, flawlessly and with full commitment. He runs major music festivals – the Moscow Easter Festival, the Stars of the White Nights festival in St Petersburg, as well as festivals in Samara, Israel, Finland, and the Netherlands. Due to his invaluable contribution, the International Tchaikovsky Competition has got a second wind. We remember his charitable concerts commemorating the victims of Beslan, the flood in the Krasnodar Territory, the earthquake in Japan, and the concerts in Tskhinval and Palmyra. They all were powerful, poignant, touching and life-affirming. Mr Gergiev is a world renowned conductor, who gives performances at the best and most famous venues, as well as military units, veteran centres, hospitals, schools, and orphanages. His music, nobility, boundless energy and talents as a teacher have brought so many of us together and give back to everyone. Friends, your authority, impeccable reputation and widespread popularity are no accident. They are the result of your hard work, inspiration, talent, and aspiration to realise the very essence of your profession. We are proud of you and your achievements that bring glory to our Motherland. And I thank you for your service to Russia. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on receiving the National Award. I wish you new successes to come. Thank you very much. * * * Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, laureates, In closing, I would like to refer back to our speakers. We all listened closely to our laureates, and I think everyone will agree that their work and the results they’ve achieved make them citizens of the world. The issues they just discussed are relevant not only for our country but for all mankind. There can be no more global issue than concern for the Earth. And all other issues are equally important, each in their own field. But first and foremost, we see our laureates as our compatriots, as citizens of our country. And all of us together – the ordinary people present here in the hall and our distinguished compatriots – will continue to work for the benefit of our country. The purpose of the state is to create the conditions for development. It has been mentioned that there is lots of disagreement when it comes to art. It has always been so, and I think it will always be. The purpose of the state is to create the conditions for our country to develop in an environment in which disagreement can continue and thus lead to solutions to the problems we face, even if it feels like there is no solution. I am positive that with the support and efforts of outstanding compatriots like our laureates we will always find the right solutions. Happy Russia Day!