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Speech at ceremony for presenting state decorations to participants of the Center-2011 military exercises

September 27, 2011, Chelyabinsk Region

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrades,

The Centre-2011 strategic military exercises are over. The results are still to be analysed but I hope that we can already say that the objectives we had set have been achieved and the skills demonstrated during the exercise, including in the final stage, will serve as a model for Russian servicemen. In fact, I have just signed an executive order on awarding state decorations to the exercise participants on the basis of their performance here and other merits.

One aspect which in my opinion had vital importance is that the aim of the exercises at Chebarkul training ground was to practice interaction between multi-service and diversified forces in close to real conditions. All of us had an opportunity to observe it. It was very impressive and showed the required degree of coherence in the advancement of forces and resources, in decision making and control over the situation, including the coordination of units of the Russian army and the armies of the CSTO member states.

Today we must give priority to comprehensive modern military training and acquisition of new equipment and weapons. We have just seen examples of new technology. All the necessary conditions exist to achieve these objects today. The army should not simply evolve but it must dispose of those functions that are called inessential. The army must carry out its duties rather than engage in housekeeping affairs. The transition to modern staff organisation and troop control system is difficult but absolutely necessary. We have just witnessed some elements of this transition.

Today, we will present state decorations to representatives of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. I hope that these will not be your last service achievements and wish you continued success. Our armed forces must move forward, change, adopt what is generally called a new image and ultimately become stronger, better equipped, more modern and more effective, capable of tackling a wide range of challenges. Unfortunately, we are still facing quite a few of them. We have to address them on the territory of our country, as well as in collaboration with our partners in other countries in order to protect the national interests of Russia and its allies.

I wish you all good health and success in your service.


September 27, 2011, Chelyabinsk Region