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Celebratory evening to mark Interior Ministry Personnel Day

November 10, 2013, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin spoke at a celebratory evening marking Interior Ministry Personnel Day.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon friends, officers, generals, Interior Ministry veterans.

I congratulate you and your colleagues on Interior Ministry Personnel Day, your professional holiday.

We first began to celebrate this holiday a little more than 50 years ago. It embodies the traditions and historic merits and services of the many generations of brave people who have protected law and order, defended the state’s and the nation’s interests with dedication, combatted crime with courage, and protected our citizens’ lives and rights. We have always appreciated and respected such professionals, and they have always formed the Interior Ministry’s solid foundation, carried out their duties with honour, and have always stood with their country and people.

On this occasion, I want to address the warmest words of gratitude to the veterans. Your dedication to your work, patriotism and sense of decency have set a high standard of service to the country. It is to this moral benchmark that today’s Interior Ministry personnel should look, and strive to emulate their legendary predecessors, serve flawlessly and honourably, work for the public and at every step maintain their uniform’s honour and their service’s reputation.

The Interior Ministry is a key part of the law enforcement. It plays a particular role in ensuring our society and country’s stable development. Strengthening the Ministry, bolstering its reputation and human resources, and cleansing it of the problems that discredit its work are therefore unquestionably one of our country’s development priorities.

Only a modern and well-equipped Interior Ministry that enjoys public trust can effectively tackle the tasks that society sets for you today. These tasks are above all protecting citizens’ lawful rights and interests, guaranteeing public safety, and protecting business from arbitrary action, corruption and criminal pressure. 

You must ensure reliable barriers against extremists and radicals who attempt to destabilise the situation and sow division in our society. You have a direct responsibility to act promptly to suppress all signs of xenophobia, nationalism and religious hatred, and to take firm action against ethnic-based criminal groups, which are often directly linked to terrorism and organisers of illegal migration.

You must keep constant close watch on the situation in the North Caucasus too. Our efforts to restore stability in this region are not an easy task and come at a high price, but we have no other choice. Russia’s territorial integrity, peace in our lands, and our citizens’ safety must be reliably protected. 

Friends, very soon, on December 12, we will celebrate the 20 anniversary of Russia’s Constitution. The Constitution enshrines our people’s rights and freedoms as the highest priority.

Much has been done over these last years to strengthen law and order through improving legislation, enforcement of laws, and developing the court and law enforcement systems. But there is still a great deal of work ahead of us.

No one must be above the law, and no one should be able to ignore it or overstep it, no matter how high their office or what their status or title. This applies too, to Interior Ministry personnel in the course of carrying out their duties.

In carrying out your duties, you must keep strictly within the limits of the law and in all circumstances respect the individual, and his or her honour and dignity. These values are enshrined in the Russian Constitution and we, each of us in our work, must always remember this.

Our people believe in the Interior Ministry personnel’s professionalism, courage and integrity, and hope that you will work conscientiously and honestly to carry out the responsibilities with which you have been entrusted.

I thank the Interior Ministry personnel for their courage and professionalism. Once again, I congratulate you all on this holiday. I wish you health, prosperity and success.

Thank you for your attention.

November 10, 2013, The Kremlin, Moscow