Vladimir Putin: The passing of the Declaration of Russian State Sovereignty was a landmark event that ended an era.
The very essence of Russian statehood and political system changed. The country received a new direction. Multi-partisanship and laws on property and mass media freedom appeared. The institution of presidency was established. The ruling system received constitutional changes.
Ten years ago, we were more romantic than now. We were even naïve. We though it was a quick and easy job to build a new state. We had to part with those illusions. However, we got experience in exchange, however bitter and hard it might have been. Now we know how difficult it is to reform the economy and the social sphere, and to establish democratic institutions.
We came through many losses. We thought the emotional impulse and elation that helped us to tackle the most daunting challenges and score victories were a thing of the past.
I travel a great deal around Russia and meet with many people. Some of them are disillusioned, confused and dismayed. Many, however, are brimming with energy and stamina, and full of creative drive.
That means we have every chance of building a better life for ourselves, of improving the economy and reviving production.
All together, we must make Russia a united, strong and respected country.
These ten years passed under the motto of building genuine federalism. We were occasionally inconsistent, and could not foresee everything. Now we know that the development of a new state demands unremitting attention and tremendous responsibility. That is a duty we all share – the President, the Government, members of Parliament and regional leaders.
I firmly believe that we are united on that. We have the nation’s support, and we will manage.
Let us drink this toast:
To the well-being and prosperity of the Russian people! To peace in our land! To great Russia!