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Speech at ceremony awarding General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nong Duc Manh the Pushkin Medal

July 9, 2010, The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Nong Duc Manh, friends,

It is my great pleasure today to perform this honoured task of awarding General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Mr Nong Duc Manh the Pushkin Medal. This is an unquestionable sign of our recognition of your personal contribution to developing our multifaceted bilateral relations, and your past experience and contribution to promoting the Russian language.

Vietnam and Russia share 60 years of solid friendship and cooperation in a broad range of areas, including education and personnel training. This has played a big part in helping your country come to know and love Russian literature and art and learn the Russian language. This is reflected in the successful work of the Pushkin Russian Language Institute’s Hanoi branch.

This year, the very first Ho Chi Minh Institute in the world, dedicated to studying Vietnam’s history and culture, opened in my native St Petersburg, a city that you know well too.

I am sure that the Russian Culture Days that will take place this autumn will be a truly memorable event that will acquaint all Vietnamese, especially the young generation, with what Russia can offer, and will help us get to know each other better. Events of this kind will also help to strengthen the particular trust that exists between our countries and their leaders.

In conclusion, I want to say once again that we in Russia have great respect for you, Mr General Secretary, and know you not only as an influential political figure but also as someone with a special fondness for Russia, and naturally this is something that means a lot to us and helps us to develop our ties. 

I offer you my warmest congratulations on this decoration. I wish you all the best, and wish you good health and success in your endeavours.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nong Duc Manh (translated from Russian): Mr President, Russian and Vietnamese friends,

It is a very emotional moment for me to receive this Russian state decoration, this medal that bears the name of the great Russian poet and shining light of Russian poetry, Alexander Pushkin.

This is a great honour not only for me personally but also for our party, our people and our entire country. This decoration is a special symbol as it attests to the exceptionally positive results achieved over 60 years of effort to build up the friendship and all-round cooperation between our countries, and the results achieved over last decade since we took our bilateral relations to the strategic partnership level. On behalf of our party, country and people, and my personal behalf, I express my immense gratitude to the Russian leadership and people for this high decoration. 

Vietnam and Russia share close bonds of longstanding friendship and mutual trust. From generation to the next our leaders and peoples have lovingly preserved and cultivated these unique relations. Those Vietnamese who have studied and worked in Russia will always carry in their hearts the memories of your country and its people, and their deep love for the Russian language and Russia’s great culture will burn forever.

The works of great Russian and world poet Alexander Pushkin were translated into Vietnamese during the trials and tribulations of the war years. Right from that moment, Pushkin’s poetry, which is so deeply infused with the freedom-loving Russian spirit, striving for independence, and with the simple charms of love, struck a chord in Vietnamese readers’ hearts. The lyrical works of this greatest of Russian poets have formed a sort of bridge between our cultures, forging bonds between our two peoples in their common struggle to affirm universal human values. This is one of the pillars in the solid spiritual foundation on which we can continue to build and preserve our traditions of all-round cooperation, including in culture, education, literature and the arts. 

We welcome and encourage the spread of Russian culture and the teaching and study of the Russian language in Vietnam. At the same time, we hope that the fraternal Russian people will also gain greater knowledge of Vietnam’s culture and rich history.

The brotherly friendship between our peoples is an invaluable treasure that we must look after, develop, and pass on to future generations. For my part, I assure you that I will continue in my work to fight for our common cause, strengthening the strategic partnership and all-round cooperation between Vietnam and Russia in the interests of both peoples.

Once again, I thank you sincerely, Mr President, for this high decoration.

July 9, 2010, The Kremlin, Moscow