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Reception to celebrate Heroes of Fatherland Day

December 11, 2019, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin spoke at a reception to mark Heroes of the Fatherland Day.

Over 350 members of the military and civilians who displayed particular courage and heroism have been invited to attend the event at St George Hall in the Grand Kremlin Palace. The participants included Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of the Russian Federation, and full cavaliers of the Order of St George.

The tradition of holding annual receptions to celebrate Heroes of the Fatherland Day, marked on December 9, was resumed in 2013.

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Speech at the reception in honour of Heroes of the Fatherland Day

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.

Today we honour Heroes of Russia, Heroes of the Soviet Union, and holders of the Orders of Glory and St George, and pay tribute to people whose names are forever recorded in the annals of courage and bravery at the service to their Fatherland.

Even the place where we are at now, St George Hall at the Kremlin, represents their valour, and by tradition we celebrate Heroes of the Fatherland Day here. It is a hall of our military glory, and a symbol of selfless service to Russia.

We honour all those who have defended the freedom and independence of our country. We commemorate the heroic deeds of the famous generals and fearless soldiers. We pay tribute to the feat of the Russian army of 1812 and to those who gave their lives on the battlefields of the First World War. And those who defeated Nazism and won a grandiose, historic victory in the Great Patriotic War are rightfully referred to as the heroic generation.

Love for the Fatherland is a sacred feeling for our people. It moves us forward, and gives strength to withstand all trials. And it makes any enemy tremble and retreat.

Gathered here in St George Hall are veterans of the Great Patriotic War as well as young people, military service members who have accomplished the most difficult tasks both in Russia and abroad, and civilian professionals who have shown resilience and courage in performing their professional duties.

Each of you, friends, knows – one who performs a heroic deed never thinks about recognition or awards at that moment. At the difficult, decisive moment, you do what your conscience and sense of duty – your military and human duty – tell you and show exceptional personal courage saving people or serving the Fatherland. Such selfless acts are always appreciated by the state.

We in Russia honour our heroes and remember those who have fulfilled their duty, including at the cost of their own lives. May their memory live on forever.

Friends, we have recently marked the 250th anniversary of the Order of St George. It is the highest military award of the Russian Empire and of modern Russia. And here, in St George Hall, where the spirit of devotion to the Fatherland reigns, we deeply feel the continuity of our country’s history. We take pride and strength in this continuity of our traditions of courage and patriotism.

Friends, from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely wish you all the best on the occasion of Heroes of the Fatherland Day. I wish you all the best and offer a toast – to our heroes, to our Fatherland, to Russia!

December 11, 2019, The Kremlin, Moscow