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National awards presented in Kremlin

February 23, 2018, Moscow, Kremlin

A ceremony for presenting national awards to mark Defender of the Fatherland Day took place in the Kremlin.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the Commander-in-Chief handed over a Gold Star of the Hero of Russia to the family of Major Roman Filipov, the military pilot who died in Syria.

Vladimir Putin awarded the Order of Suvorov to the Red Banner South Military District; the Order of Ushakov to the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser,Admiral of the Navy of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov; the Order of Nakhimov– to the Guard missile cruiser Varyag.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,

Today, on Defender of the Fatherland Day, we honour those for whom military service became a mission and the meaning of life – true patriots, who reliably guard the sovereignty and security of Russia, secure the peace of our citizens.

Traditionally, here, in the St George's Hall of the Kremlin, the national awards are presented to soldiers who have committed a heroic deed in the name of the Fatherland, to the best units and formations of the Army and the Navy.

Here with us today are also young people – Young Army members. You have yet to choose your life journey. Whether it is military service or a civilian profession, you have someone to look up to, who can serve as a role model.

I am sure that the heroic history of the Russian Armed Forces, the honour and dignity of the officers, whom Russia has always been proud of, will be a moral guide for you.

Today’s generation of defenders of the Fatherland serve their homeland and their people devotedly. Our soldiers and officers fulfil their military duty, carrying out a difficult service.

This daily intensive work ensures the high-quality development of the Russian Armed Forces, allowing for the efficient mastery of the modern, unique equipment provided to the army, for refining military skills, professionalism, and unity during drills and surprise inspections.

Our soldiers demonstrated their readiness to solve the most complicated tasks in Syria: they act bravely, decisively and courageously. They helped the Syrian army shatter large, well-equipped terrorist groups.

Today, I would like to once again thank everyone who took part in this extremely difficult operation, and, in real combat, proved their military prowess, displayed heroism, staunchness, and bravery.

Major Roman Filipov was exactly this – a brave warrior, a real officer. He chose a military profession, followed in the footsteps of his father – became a military pilot. And always, during his studies, during service in the Middle East, when fighting in the sky over Syria, he aspired to be among the best, he was a true comrade to his comrades-in-arms.

He went into an unequal battle with terrorists. He did not give up, he did not back down. And we are fully entitled to compare him with the heroes who defended the Brest Fortress, Moscow, and Stalingrad.

Because regardless of the historical context, regardless of the era in which we live, everyone has only one life to live, at least in this world.

If a person is ready to go all the way, to sacrifice themselves in the interests of his or her people, this is the acme of personal courage, heroism, devotion to one’s homeland.

Roman’s family members are in this hall today – his parents, Elena and Nikolai, and his widow Olga. For his relatives, friends, brothers-in-arms, the death of Roman is an irreplaceable loss.

We all grieve with you and share this pain. Our deepest gratitude goes to you. Thank you for bringing up such a brave, dignified son, a Russian officer, the son of his Fatherland.

For his heroism and courage, Major Filipov is awarded the title of Hero of Russia. The Gold Star medal will be presented to his relatives today.

Nikolai Filipov: Mr President,

Thank you very much for the invitation to the Kremlin, for the state’s high assessment of my son’s military service, and the words of support you have given to our family.

Since his childhood, Roman dreamt of becoming a military pilot – his dream came true. He knew what an officer’s honour and dignity are. He fought the biggest evil – international terrorism, and when the need arose, he carried out his military duty to the very end.

Only now do I realise how many friends Roman had. We have been surrounded with the care and attention of commanders, comrades and officers. We are supported by people we do not even know, from all parts of the country. Thank you for this.

I am proud of my son, proud of our Army, proud of our great Fatherland – Russia.

Commander of the Southern Military District forces, Colonel General Aleksandr Dvornikov: Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,

Let me, on behalf of the commanding officers and military personnel of the military units that have received awards, express the deepest gratitude to the country’s administration and to you personally for the appreciation of our military work.

The orders awarded today bear the names of our renowned commanders, whose military craft is recognised all over the world and epitomises speed and onslaught. Getting the initiative in combat and achieving victory over superior enemy forces are an example of strength of spirit and mercy to the enemy.

Receiving such awards is not only a great honour but also a tremendous responsibility to the people of Russia, which comes with the obligation of defending the interests of the state even at the cost of one’s own life.

The modern generation of soldiers continues the traditions laid down by its predecessors with dignity. This is clearly demonstrated by our armed forces in Syria: they act quickly and professionally, demonstrating heroism, courage, bravery and selflessness. And when the situation requires it, they sacrifice themselves, carrying out the assigned task. We will always be loyal to the memory of the fallen.

Comrade Commander-in-Chief,

Let me assure you today, in this hall, in front of our young defenders of the Fatherland, on behalf of those awarded: we are ready to fulfil the tasks to protect the Fatherland. Regards!

Aleksandr Ptushko: Mr President! Friends!

For me, for Young Army members, it is a great honour to be among those invited to the Kremlin, to see such an important ceremony with our own eyes. It makes us reflect on many things, compare our own lives and actions with what was done for Russia, for all of us by the crews and soldiers of the Southern Military District’s formations who have been presented with awards. And Roman Filipov, a heroic pilot, of course.

When joining the Young Army members, we vow to be worthy of the deeds of our ancestors, to be worthy citizens of our own country. And with such examples you quickly and clearly realise what this actually means. I would like to express my gratitude for being here and, on behalf of all Young Members, congratulate you on Defender of the Fatherland day.

The history of our movement is just beginning – it has only been one and a half years. But it is based on ancient traditions, adhered to by generations who developed new areas and made great scientific discoveries, who created unique works of art and paved the way to outer space. These were the generations who freed the world from Nazism and knew the price and value of liberty, friendship, life itself. Our goal is to continue their achievements and add our own to them.

The Yunarmiya (Young Army) forum is currently underway and we can see how our contemporaries from other regions live, hear their stories about expeditions with the Russian geographical society, the CSKA sports competitions, and participation in memorable and volunteer events.

There are so many events taking place all over the country that listing them here right now is simply impossible. I will say only one thing: thank you to everyone who helps us.

Mr President,

You can count on us, we will not let you down.

Vladimir Putin: Comrades,

It is true that when the Army, the Navy, the Armed Forces, the military part of the state, are self-sufficient, strong, and well-developed, then conditions are created for the country’s peaceful progress, for its steady development and stable relations on the global arena.

It seems to have always been like that. This appears to be normal. However, if the Armed Forces weaken, problems we never anticipated, threats we did not even imagine, begin to arise.

In recent years, the Armed Forces have truly acquired a new dynamic of development – one that Russia needs. I would like to thank all of you for this work and once again congratulate you on Defender of the Fatherland Day.

February 23, 2018, Moscow, Kremlin