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Presenting Russian state decorations to foreign citizens

February 17, 2012, Gorki, Moscow Region

Dmitry Medvedev presented Russian Federation state decorations to eleven foreign citizens in recognition of their great contribution to developing cooperation and strengthening cultural ties with Russia. 

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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, friends, it is a great pleasure to see you all in Moscow.

We are here for a ceremonial occasion today. I want to present you with Russian Federation state decorations, decorations awarded in recognition of your great services. Each of you has made a contribution to our bilateral relations.

You come from countries that have various longstanding and generally very good relations with Russia as friends and neighbours. But we live in a changing, global world in which everything happens very fast, and it is thus very important to give our relations a modern context and substance. This makes it particularly important to give our young people new chances for contact and productive work together, and you are doing a marvellous job of this. 

Here today are people who have worked hard in this area, taking part in big business and educational projects and achieving big results in culture, sports, and simply in developing ordinary contacts between people.

Let me name a few examples. They are all different, but are all valuable to us. There is, for example, the development of high-speed passenger rail links between Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, St Petersburg, and Helsinki, in which big international companies such as Siemens have taken part.

”We live in a changing, global world in which everything happens very fast, and it is thus very important to give our relations a modern context and substance. This makes it particularly important to give our young people new chances for contact and productive work together.“

I want to make specific mention of another big project, in the cultural sphere this time – reconstruction of the Bolshoi Theatre, which is a national symbol and source of pride for Russia, while at the same it is part of the cultural heritage of all humanity. I am very pleased that people from many different countries took part in restoring this unique monument, all the more so as restoring masterpieces of this kind requires the very best of world experience.

With a number of big sports events on the horizon, in particular the World Student Games that will take place in Kazan in 2013, we are building the FISU (International University Sports Federation) International Education Centre. I am sure that it will help us to organise the 2013 Games at the highest level and help to bring new talent into the Olympic pool. We in Russia are working very hard at the moment to develop sports and physical culture. We have the Kazan Games coming up after all, followed by the Sochi Olympics and then the FIFA World Cup – many big competitions, in short.

Without doubt, language, culture, and the humanitarian sphere are powerful forces for bringing peoples closer together. Here today are people who have made a special and very valuable contribution to developing humanitarian relations and bringing closer together everyone with an interest in Russia, its language, history, and modern life.

Ladies and gentlemen, you come from different walks of life, different countries, different cultures and traditions, but you all have one thing in common: you all feel warmth towards our country. Let me say just how valuable this is to us. I congratulate you all sincerely on these state decorations and wish you good health and happiness.

Now it is time to finally begin what we came here for. I propose that we begin the presentation ceremony.

President of Vr Group Ltd (Finland) Mikael Aro: Honourable Mr President, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,

For a long time, Finish Railways VR Group and Russian Railways had a dream, and that dream was to have a high-speed train between Helsinki and St Petersburg. On the 10th of December 2010, this dream came true.

To establish a high-speed train, you need three things. You need to buy new trains. You need to have new procedures and regulations regarding the passports, visas, and customs clearance, and this has to happen in the moving train. And then also, you need a new infrastructure. All this was established many times to many people who actually are in the room today. The results speak for themselves. We had a more than 50 per cent increase in the number of passengers. Even in the first year, 300,000 passengers were on board the Allegro.

I’m sure that this is, again, one good example of the good relations between Finland and the Russian Federation, and also, I’m sure that the people of the Russian Federation and the Finnish people became closer because of this project. So thank you.

Head of the Russian Community of Ivano-Frankivsk Region (Ukraine) ALEXANDER VOLKOV: Mr President,

It is a great honour to receive this Russian Federation state decoration directly from your hands. I thank you for your high assessment of my community work. I would like to add that I am very pleased to see Ukraine’s Acting Charge d’Affaires in the Russian Federation present here, as this demonstrates respect to the nation of which I am a citizen.

Thank you very much, Mr President.

Honorary Consul For the Russian Federation In the City of Bitola (Macedonia) DARINKA KRSTANOVA: Your Excellency, Mr President of the Russian Federation, Mr Medvedev,

It is hard for me to find the elegant words to thank you for this award. I suppose this is the result of my limitless love for Russia. Thank you very much.


There is a special role assigned to sports, politics, economics, and strengthening friendly ties between our nations. And, as Mr President just emphasised, in anticipation of the World Universiade in Kazan and the Olympic Games in Sochi, we also held the 7th Asian Winter Games at the beginning of last year. Colleagues from Russia’s Sports Ministry and Olympic Committee helped us carry out the opening ceremony, led by your well-known musician, Igor Krutoy. All the participants, the distinguished guests especially, enjoyed the opening.

And most importantly, after our unsuccessful performance at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, following instructions from our head of state, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, we formed a research group that brought together about 30 Russian and Kazakhstani researchers, and we already have concrete results. Today, we have developed new technologies in specific sports disciplines. Modern textbooks are also ready, both in electronic and paper format.

Being awarded this state decoration – the Order of Friendship – means taking on many commitments, and we will continue strengthening our ties. I think we will participate actively in the Sochi Olympics, as well as the Universiade in Kazan.

Mr President, I would like to thank you on behalf of all of Kazakhstan’s researchers for this high assessment, wish you good health, and most importantly, convey my hope that our relations will continue to improve.

”Language, culture, and the humanitarian sphere are powerful forces for bringing peoples closer together. Here today are people who have made a special and very valuable contribution to developing humanitarian relations and bringing closer together everyone with an interest in Russia, its language, history, and modern life.“

Thank you for your attention. I wish you all the best.

President and CEO of Siemens Ag (Austria) Peter Loescher (re-translated): Mr President,

I thank you with all my heart on behalf of Siemens AG for this award. We are contributing to the modernisation of Russia and the particular nature of the partnership between our nations. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your cooperation in the spirit of partnership.

We are also planning multibillion-dollar investments in Russia over the course of the next three years; we are very proud that our partnership is progressing so well and are looking with great satisfaction and confidence toward the future. This is true of the partnership between Russia and the Siemens AG company in particular.

Thank you very much.


I sincerely thank you for this high assessment of my work and the work of my colleagues. I warmly thank you for supporting Russian culture in our region.

Thank you.

Chairwoman of the Association of Russian School Teachers In the Republic of Lithuania Ella Kanaite: Mr President, guests,

Please allow me to express my words of gratitude for this appraisal of my work, on behalf of myself and all Russian school teachers in Lithuania, because we must defend the Russian Language and Russian schools under rather difficult circumstances. It is the Russian schools that serve as a kind of bridge of friendship between Russia and Lithuania. And believe me, we will truly do everything possible to strengthen these ties and reinforce the Russian language in Lithuania.

Please allow me to express my gratitude once more. Thank you.

Tikara Kishimoto, A Teacher At Musasino Conservatory In Tokyo Prefecture (re-translated): Mr President,

I am grateful for this invitation to Moscow and for this splendid ceremony.

I am very happy for the opportunity to receive this wonderful award from the hands of the Russian Federation President. I am getting this award thanks to the support of my Japanese fans, friends, and teachers.

There is warmth in Russian folk songs. They give me strength, they inspire me, and they bring me joy in life. I hope to continue to give Russian folk songs as wide a place as possible in my creative work.

Thank you very much.

Ali Okla Orsan, Adviser To the Arab Writers Union (Syria) (re-translated): Your Excellency, Mr President of the Russian Federation, friends,

It is a great honour for me to address you, Your Excellency, Mr President, with greetings, words of gratitude and respect, and to address the Russian Federation, its leadership, the Government, and all the peoples of Russia, as well as its cultural figures.

I thank Russia for its wise policies, for its dedication to the values of justice, liberty and progress. I thank it for refusing to use people and their rights as a pretext to impose any ready-made solutions. I thank this nation for its decisive and steady position against aggression, terrorism, and attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of other states and people in the context of a unipolar world. I thank Russia for being a historically free political force for different peoples in their fight against attempts to bring back colonialism to our world under a new guise. I hope we never stop creative cooperation in intellectual culture.

Responsible dialogue is the most important method for getting acquainted with foreign knowledge and experience. The doors for dialogue can never be closed. After all, there is always a chance to hold a dialogue, because dialogue is based on reason and logic, and reason and logic are never subject to time, their strength never expires, they are inevitable for those who are different from one another, as well as those who are in conflict.

Your Excellency, Mr President, friends,

I am overcome with a feeling of joy and gratitude as I stand in this historic place, which has enormous symbolic significance. Today’s event has great humanitarian and cultural significance, and these boundaries are broadening, thanks to your efforts.

I am a sincere friend of the peoples of the Russian Federation. I thank you for presenting me with this decoration. We will continue working on strengthening the friendship between our peoples to deepen interaction in the fields of culture and the arts for the good of all humanity, to benefit the values of kindness, in the name of human civilisation.

I would like to cite the words of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who is the spiritual father of Russian language and literature. He said (reading poem in Arabic):

In years to come I'll earn my people’s adoration

For only gentle feelings my lyre did awake,

For freedom did I praise in time of tribulation

And mercy ask for fallen heroes’ sake.

The soul of the great Russian poet Pushkin strived toward human freedom. Pushkin’s principles echo the spiritual and creative values of Arabic culture. Alexander [Sergeyevich] Pushkin still has an enormous influence and impact on the cultures of people around the world. Through his art, his literature, and his thinking, he enriched the humanitarian patrimony of all humankind.

I want to once again thank you, Mr President, and thank Russia, all of its institutions and organisations, the peoples of Russia, the Russian-Syrian Friendship Society, the Afro-Asian Peoples’ Solidarity Organisation, the Union of Russian Writers, and all its members. I would like to thank you for giving me this prestigious decoration. We will work for the good of developing the values of kindness, in the name of the entire human civilisation.

I wish you, Mr President, as well as all of the Russian Federation and its peoples, well-being and prosperity. Your Excellency, dear friends, please accept once again my words of gratitude and respect.

Thank you very much.

Sergio Palamarchuk, Director of the Russian House In Rio de Janeiro: Mr President,

Please allow me express my enormous gratitude for this prestigious award. I perceive it as recognition not only of my own personal input into promoting Russian language and culture, but also the enormous work being carried out in this field by organisations and associations of Russian compatriots in Brazil.

In recent years, Russia has given a great deal of attention to consolidating the Russian diaspora abroad and strengthening its ties to historical Russia. We constantly feel this and are grateful to Russia’s leadership, and above all, to you personally.

For compatriots residing in nations that are geographically distant from Russia, such as Brazil, your attention and moral support is particularly important.

Most of us do not work for any benefits, privileges or rewards; rather, we work because we feel this demand, the desire to be needed, useful for our common Fatherland. I feel it is very important to rely not only on the traditionally active and reliable subsection of compatriots who are veterans, but on young people as well, who represent our future. That kind of work is underway in Brazil.

”Each of you has his or her own feeling about Russia and has done much to make the relations between our countries and cultures closer, more mutually beneficial, and more productive.“

We have people to whom we can pass on the baton. And although we have already done a great deal, there are important, large-scale challenges ahead of us, and it is still too early to settle down.

Mr President, I once again sincerely thank you for this decoration. Let me assure you that it will also serve as an additional incentive for me in our common work to develop cultural ties with the Russian Federation, and maintain Russian language and culture abroad.

Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

The words spoken here today show we are indeed all different, all from different countries, but each of you has his or her own feeling about Russia and has done much to make the relations between our countries and cultures closer, more mutually beneficial, and more productive.

The world is a complex place in which we see many different processes underway. We have the economic crisis to complain about, and all manner of political difficulties that as a rule always come together with other problems. Most countries have their own problems today. It is my great hope that we all manage to resolve these problems as soon as we can in order to greet the future with confidence.

No matter what the situation, the immense work you do, whether in business, sports, or the cultural and educational sphere, will always find its grateful beneficiaries. Most important is that this work really does strengthen the good relations between our peoples.

Once more, on behalf of the Russian Federation, I thank you for your work and for helping to build up the good ties between our countries.

Thank you very much for this. I wish you success in all of your undertakings. 

One final important thing: come to Russia more often. We always look forward to seeing you and greatly appreciate your work.

February 17, 2012, Gorki, Moscow Region