Presenting national awards for achievements in human rights and charity work 2018-12-12 17:45:00 The Kremlin, Moscow In the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin presented national awards for outstanding achievements in human rights and charity work. Chairman of the National Society of People with Disabilities Mikhail Terentyev received the human rights award for 2018. The award for achievements in charity work was presented to Lev Ambinder, president of Rusfond Charity Fund for Seriously Ill Children, Orphans and Disabled Persons. The Executive Order establishing the awards was signed more than three years ago. Since then, the President has presented them twice: in 2016, to Yelizaveta Glinka and Director of the Children's Hospice Alexander Tkachenko; and in 2017, to Lyudmila Alekseyeva and chairman of a charity fund for children with leukaemia in the Republic of Tatarstan Vladimir Vavilov. * * * Speech at the ceremony for presenting national awards for outstanding achievements in charity work and human rights President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, ladies and gentlemen, Today, here in the Kremlin, we are celebrating our estimable fellow citizens, recipients of the national awards for outstanding achievements in human rights and charity work, and paying tribute to their accomplishments and selfless work. This is the main purpose of today’s ceremony. However, these awards have a special dimension and a high mission of their own. They help the government and society in general focus more on the important issues that today’s recipients are committed to resolving – issues that often, in the most direct, literal sense determine people's lives. I think that for the recipients themselves this is no less – and maybe even more – important than the well-deserved national awards. Friends, your achievements remind us again and again of how powerful and effective charity and compassion can be. How there is no limit to what someone driven by a sincere desire to help others and uphold truth and justice can do. We see how these seemingly simple, but at the same time defining values are resonating with our citizens and becoming a natural moral compass in their daily actions and deeds. I am glad to have the opportunity to say a few words about the people who are receiving the awards today. The national award for outstanding achievements in human rights protection goes to Mikhail Terentyev. The National Society of People with Disabilities, which he heads, unites more than 1.5 million people. As you may be aware, there are 12 million people with disabilities in our country. It is important to consider and advance their interests and to consistently protect their rights. I believe that in matters of creating an accessible environment, we, including through Mr Terentyev’s efforts, have managed to make major progress in recent years. Caring for the needs of people with disabilities is becoming the norm, while any attempts to discriminate against them, any cases of unfair treatment are met with a sharply negative reaction from our citizens. Still, by and large, to be honest, we are only at the beginning of the road today, and there is still a lot to be done, there is still so much to be done. We are now starting to implement new national projects. Their main goal, their idea is to achieve positive changes for each person, which means developing healthcare, education, transport infrastructure, creating a new comfortable environment for living in urban and rural areas. We are obliged to think about people with disabilities, to consider their special needs. Working in close contact with public associations, we must not overlook any detail that affects their quality of life or their ability to exercise their rights. This is our direct responsibility. President of the Rusfond charity fund for seriously ill children Lev Ambinder is the recipient of the Russian Federation National Award for charity work. Mr Ambinder has been running Rusfond since 1996, when the very concept of charity was just beginning to return to our country. And it was he who laid the foundations for a professional, reliable, and efficient charitable organisation. More than 6.5 million Russians have donated to Rusfond, and more than 20,000 children have received necessary treatment. Without exaggeration, every life saved is priceless. And behind each of them lies the caring, disinterested impulse of so many people. I would like to sincerely thank all those who consider it their duty to respond to the pain of others, to thank all our benefactors. I will also note Mr Ambinder’s and the Rusfond team’s efforts to create a national registry of bone marrow donors. This is a very important project, which requires combined efforts of the state, society, charitable and non-profit organisations, so that all those who need such operations can receive the help they need in time. Friends, Public opinion, the active participation of citizens in the life of the country, an active civil society represent a tremendous force whose importance for Russia's steady progress and its consolidation, the consolidation of our people, is, without exaggeration, decisive. You are probably aware that yesterday we marked the 100th anniversary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s birth. According to the writer, the air of social relations and their purity is a more fundamental value than the level of abundance, industrial development and even the system of governance. These relations determine the life of the country and its future. Today’s laureates are working to make sure that no one has to bear their misfortune alone, that everyone has both help and support when they need it most. It is you who create and strengthen the atmosphere of justice and goodness that we all, the whole society – the state and the people – need so badly. This is the very “air” of human relations Alexander Solzhenitsyn spoke about. Thank you very much for this! Thank you for your attention.