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Defender of the Fatherland Day gala event

February 22, 2011, Moscow

Dmitry Medvedev congratulated service members, veterans, and civil personnel in the Armed Forces and their families on the national holiday, Defender of the Fatherland Day.

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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: First of all, I would like to pass on greetings from Vladikavkaz. The Defence Minister [Anatoly Serdyukov] and I had to participate in a meeting of the National Antiterrorism Committee today.

It is very important that today’s day and the holiday we will be celebrating tomorrow are occurring in times of peace. I would like to congratulate everyone serving in the nation’s Armed Forces on Defender of the Fatherland Day, which is a major state holiday. I understand that everyone gathered here today is either continuing their service in the Armed Forces, or is an Armed Forces’ veteran, or plans to serve in the Armed Forces.

It is a pleasure to note that recently, the situation in the Armed Forces has begun to change. Our nation has lived through some difficult years, and this has affected our overall economic potential, as well as the situation in the army. Recently, we have been able to make many important decisions. They concern the new features of the Armed Forces, ways to develop the Armed Forces, the social status of service members, and the role the Armed Forces must play in our nation.

”And that is precisely why we need a stable situation in domestic policy, which will ultimately depend on the well-being of our nation’s defenders. I am certain that we will be able to ensure that the Armed Forces are properly developed.“

I think that everyone present understands that the Armed Forces should be given a worthy place in the Russian Federation. Otherwise, we may fall victim to various challenges and difficult events, as has occasionally happened in our history. That is precisely why we have to take all necessary measures in order for the Armed Forces of Russia – the Army and the Navy – to remain at a proper level.

In spite of the fact that the last few years have been quite hard, we have been able to keep the protected budget spending items intact, which I feel is exceedingly important for the Armed Forces. We have been able to ensure that in the upcoming years, the Armed Forces will develop steadily, and that there will be necessary funding available in the two key areas: giving the Armed Forces new features and subsequently creating a new configuration of the Armed Forces, acquiring new types of weaponry and upgrading the Armed Forces’ material resources, as well as another, no less important area: service members’ social status.

I am happy to say that beginning on January 1, 2012, the system of monetary compensation for the Armed Forces will become fundamentally different. The experiment we conducted over the last several years, which involved the best officers of our Army and Navy, will be applied to everyone serving in the Armed Forces.

I am confident that the attention our government pays to these issues will repays a thousandfold. The world remains complicated: we need to work on resolving domestic problems and we face the threat of terrorism (it exists around the world, but unfortunately, it is a problem that affects us as well). And that is precisely why we need a stable situation in domestic policy, which will ultimately depend on the well-being of our nation’s defenders. I am certain that we will be able to ensure that the Armed Forces are properly developed.

I would like to congratulate everyone in our Armed Forces on this holiday – Defender of the Fatherland Day. First and foremost, these are the people serving in the Armed Forces and our dear veterans who contributed enormously to the creation of our nation, who defended it during the most difficult times of its development, as well as the civilian personnel and those who help our service members, who share with them all of the difficulties of their service – their families and spouses.

I would like to particularly congratulate our dear women, who are also serving in the Armed Forces quite successfully and who are defending our Fatherland.

I would like to address the young generation – the young officers and those who plan to become future defenders of the Fatherland. I am certain that if you choose to enlist in the military or remain in the Armed Forces, then you will not only help your nation, but also maintain your identities as citizens who truly love their homeland.

Friends, as Commander in Chief, I would like to congratulate all service members and all Defence Ministry personnel, and to thank them for their valiant service.

Happy Defender of the Fatherland Day!

February 22, 2011, Moscow