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Meeting with Heroes of Russia who were awarded Gold Star Medals

December 8, 2022, The Kremlin, Moscow

After the ceremony to present Gold Star medals to Heroes of Russia, Vladimir Putin talked briefly with the medal recipients.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin: How long have you been serving?

Colonel Maxim Stefanov, Head of the 267th Flight Research Test Centre, Deputy Head of the Defence Ministry 929th State Flight Test Centre: Since 2000.

Vladimir Putin: What aircraft have you handled?

Maxim Stefanov: All the newest ones. The latest one is the Sukhoi Su-57, which we are using now to carry out the goal of protecting our interests. The plane has proven itself worthy. I hope that it will contribute to our victory.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, yes. Aviation is performing very well. It is very good to have this in combat duty, actually around-the-clock. They have shown themselves to be very effective, to do everything as scheduled and to work very competently. Both attack aircraft and Sukhois – Su-34 and 35 – are fighting perfectly, very well. The armament is good. Great, just great. They are making a significant contribution to the effectiveness of troop operations. But you probably know this.

Maxim Stefanov: Yes, sir.

Vladimir Putin: As it was said here, and I have also said that the Fatherland means people above all, and we must always remember this. First of all, we are doing everything for the people, in order to protect them, and we must have faith internally that we are doing it with dignity, and do it exactly like this because the country and those people who need protection, they understand that the last hope is on you. This is the case.

All nonsense, information confrontation, information dumps, and all sorts of fake stories should be put aside, should not prevent us from fulfilling our duty to our people. And you do not have to be particularly sophisticated about this information battle to understand what is really happening.

Right now, there is a lot of buzz about our attacks on the energy infrastructure of a neighbouring country. Yes, we are doing this, but who started it? Who hit the Crimean Bridge? Who blew up the power lines from the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant? Who is not supplying water to Donetsk? Not distributing water to a city of millions is an act of genocide. No one anywhere has said a word about this, the silence is complete. As soon as we move and do something in response: noise and uproar are raised all across the universe.

This will not interfere with our combat missions. And I want to thank you that you and your comrades are doing this in the most dignified way. Thank you very much.

Once again, I congratulate you on this high award of the Fatherland.

Remark: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: And Happy New Year to you! It is unlikely that we will see each other before the New Year. The very best regards to all your colleagues, comrades-in-arms. All the best!

Remark: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Goodbye.

December 8, 2022, The Kremlin, Moscow