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Presentation of Russian Federation National Awards

June 24, 2020, The Kremlin, Moscow

The President presented the 2019 National Awards at the Kremlin’s Catherine Hall.

The 2019 National Awards in Science and Technology have been conferred on Andrei Golovnyov for his contribution to research into the cultural heritage of the Arctic indigenous peoples; on Dmitry Morozov, Andrei Ulitin, and Tatyana Chernovskaya for developing and introducing into clinical practice a complex of medicinal preparations based on monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases; on Mikhail Predtechensky, Dmitry Markovich and Vladimir Meledin for creating the foundations of the global industry of single-wall carbon nanotubes and providing scientific substantiation for new methods of diagnostics and management of non-equilibrium systems.

The 2019 National Awards in Literature and Art have been conferred on Alexander Yermakov for establishing the Ivanovka Sergei Rachmaninoff Museum-Estate and for his educational activities; on Valentin Kurbatov for contributing to the preservation and development of the Russian literary tradition; on Galina Medvedeva for contributing to the preservation, study and development of the traditional verbal culture of Russian old-time inhabitants of Baikal, Siberia.

The 2019 Russian Federation National Awards for outstanding achievements in humanitarian activity have been conferred on Valery Vechorko, Chief Physician at Filatov Municipal Clinical Hospital No.15 of the Moscow Healthcare Department; and composer David Tukhmanov.

The 2019 Russian Federation National Award for human rights activity has been conferred on Maria Bolshakova, chairperson of the Council of the Union of Russian Military Personnel Families national public charity organisation; the National Award for charity work has been conferred on Konstantin Khabensky, theatre and cinema actor, film director, and founder of a charity foundation.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends.

Dear laureates, I welcome you at the National Award ceremony at the Kremlin.

This year we had to step back from the tradition of presenting the national awards on Russia Day. So when we had to change to a different date, we chose June 24, a day of glory and triumph in the history of our country and our people forever, for all times.

You know, we have already mentioned this many times – exactly 75 years ago, the legendary victors paraded on Red Square. And today, you saw for sure how the heirs of the soldiers of the Great Victory marched solemnly past.

We are proud of the great generation of victors and proud of Russia – a self-sufficient, strong and open country where people are respected and appreciated for their great deeds and outstanding achievements – courageous, purposeful, talented people devoted to their homeland and their work.

All this fully applies to today’s laureates, that is, to you.

You are well aware of the circumstances that have made a lot of adjustments to our lives of late. Not all laureates could manage to attend this ceremony. Their awards will certainly be delivered to them later. But, of course, it is simply impossible to not even mention them now, today, at this National Awards ceremony.

This is especially true of the prize winners in humanitarian activities, as their awards are the highest recognition of achievements in the spiritual development of the Russian nation, consolidating its moral foundations and social harmony.

The 2019 National Award in humanitarian activity has been awarded to brilliant composer, creator of classical and popular music David Tukhmanov.

His music is loved by many generations. People love it because it reflects their dreams, concerns, feelings that are inherent to each person and the entire vast country, and it is always permeated by the composer’s personal and very sincere attitude to what he writes about.

Suffice it to remember David Tukhmanov’s patriotic pieces, the most famous of them the song “Victory Day” that people have made the anthem of our main holiday.

The 2019 National Award in humanitarian activity has been awarded to Valery Vechorko, chief physician at Moscow City Hospital No. 15.

He was appointed to lead the team not so long ago. Before that, he had travelled a long and dignified path in medicine. His talents as a doctor and organiser, someone who knows how to rally a team and is ready to take on tremendous responsibility, have been especially evident in recent months during the truly frontline battle with the coronavirus. We all know that here, the lives and health of thousands of people depend on the timely and competent actions of medical workers; and, unfortunately, the situation remains difficult.

The work done by a group of talented pharmacists – Andrei Ulitin, Dmitry Morozov and Tatyana Chernovskaya – has made a major contribution to keeping Russian people healthy.

For the first time in Russia, these winners of the National Award in Science and Technology have developed a unique scientific and industrial complex of ready dosage forms of monoclonal antibodies to treat malignant and autoimmune diseases.

This type of pharmaceuticals is highly effective and is in great demand; it is a fast growing segment. It is very important that Russia will now have its own advanced production facilities, which fully meet our domestic needs.

The 2019 National Award winners include one more group of Russian scientists.

Mikhail Predtechensky, Vladimir Meledin and Dmitry Markovich have launched a real scientific and technological revolution by creating a reactor capable of annually producing tens of tonnes of single-walled carbon nanotubes.

Unfortunately, Mr Predtechensky, the group’s leader, could not join us in Moscow today. I will underscore that he is actually the inventor of the technology that the international scientific community sought since the discovery of the unique properties of nanotubes – they greatly increase the strength of materials that are used in almost all areas of the economy and industry. It was our Russian scientists that finally found a solution, achieved absolute leadership here, and provided Russia with a strategic advantage in a critical area.

This breakthrough was made by physicists from Novosibirsk. I cannot avoid quoting Mikhail Lomonosov, who said Russia’s might would grow through Siberia and the Northern Ocean.

I have no doubt that leading Russian anthropologist Andrei Golovnyov, the world’s top expert on the culture of the peoples of the North, fully shares Lomonosov’s belief.

The National Award in Science and Technology was conferred on him for the outstanding results of his ethnographic expeditions.

Andrei Golovnyov has been involved in field research concerning the cultural heritage of the Arctic indigenous peoples for almost 40 years. The findings he accumulated during his studies have very broad practical applications. Indeed, an efficient and careful attitude to the Arctic is a priority for Russia, a country of the ‘northern dimension’, as Golovnyov put it. I completely agree with this and absolutely share his position.

Ethnography is also at the core of research carried out by Galina Medvedeva, winner of the 2019 National Award in Literature and Art.

She dedicated nearly 40 years of her life to the research and development of the culture of Eastern Siberia old-time residents, descendants of Russian pioneers, who preserved the priceless local folklore and linguistic heritage.

Her research was based on the results of 150 field expeditions to study the lifestyle and customs of more than 1,200 villages.

It is amazing how Ms Medvedeva manages to combine such intensive field work with effective teaching and writing. I am referring, among other things, to the 20-volume dictionary Folk Vocabulary in Valentin Rasputin’s Stories and Novels that describes dialects of residents of the Baikal area.

The legacy of Valentin Rasputin, a lauder of the Siberian land, was also reflected in the works by prominent literary critic and author Valentin Kurbatov.

His books about great Russian writers are now a true and perhaps the only guide to lead the contemporary reader into the world of ideas, sentiments and images of Russian literature of the 20th century. History and modernity are always closely linked in his publications and lectures on philosophy, poetry, painting and music.

Preserving the nation’s cultural heritage is also the life’s work of Alexander Yermakov.

Mr Yermakov was among the founders of the Ivanovka Sergei Rachmaninoff Museum-Estate in Tambov Region and has been heading it for over 40 years. The composer links his best years and the time of his creative growth to this place. Mr Yermakov restored the mansion and, moreover, he recreated in minute detail the entire space of the estate, turning Ivanovka into a modern, world-famous educational centre.

The Russian Federation National Awards are also being presented today to several people of impeccable moral authority.

They not only help others in difficult life situations, but also bring together caring, energetic, and talented people around them.

I am happy to welcome the winner of the National Award for human rights activism – Maria Bolshakova, chairperson of the Council of the Union of Russian Military Personnel Families.

Ms Bolshakova got involved with social protection and the rights of military service members and their families back in the late 1990s, a difficult time, very difficult for our army and for the country as a whole. It took tremendous perseverance and courage.

I know that you have travelled to hot spots with humanitarian aid and helped people overcome bureaucratic obstacles and an indifferent attitude – this also happens. I remember your letters full of civic and maternal pain about the situation in the troops.

I would underscore that it is largely thanks to you and people like you that the social and legal guarantees of the military and their families have become a state priority.

Konstantin Khabensky, the winner of the National Award for charity work, is also someone for whom helping others is vital.

More than 10 years ago, he established a charity foundation that helped children with brain cancer and other serious diseases of the brain.

Konstantin Khabensky put the popular love he rightfully enjoys in his acting career into that charity – a rare deed – and modelled this behaviour by using his personal experience of directing all his virtues to good deeds. He inspired many people to be open and sensitive to others’ problems, to unite and take action for the most important thing – for the sake of children's lives.

My friends,

I thank you all for the results and achievements that are so important for our country, our society, for your good deeds that inspire creativity, for the high standards you set for yourselves and others alike, for the pursuit of excellence in everything you do.

Each of you sets an impeccable benchmark of a life filled with the highest meaning: helping people and your Fatherland, working tirelessly, and supporting others wholeheartedly for the sake of a common goal, for the happiness and well-being of people, for the prosperity of our country, Russia.

Once again, I congratulate you on your National Awards. I wish you every success in your undertakings and projects, and may your goals fill you with energy and inspire new achievements.

And of course, in the current situation, I sincerely wish you good health and success in the future.

Thank you very much.


Vladimir Putin: Friends,

One of the laureates here who is sitting opposite me and to my right spoke about her research in Siberian villages and the moral principles their life has been relying on for centuries. She spoke of mutual support and mutual assistance, of collective efforts, of combining efforts to address common problems. I must say this is the moral and ethical foundation Russia, in fact, has always relied on in the past and will always continue to rely on.

It was by combining efforts that we always achieved outstanding victories and remarkable results in nearly every field – in war, science, art and education. Everyone present at the Kremlin today comes from different groups that have contributed to Russia being referred to as a great power.

Thank you very much for your work, for your talent and for your results.

Thank you.

June 24, 2020, The Kremlin, Moscow