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Reception in the Kremlin for graduates of military academies and universities

June 28, 2011

Dmitry Medvedev congratulated graduates of military academies and universities on successfully completing their studies.

In his address, Dmitry Medvedev emphasised that close attention will be paid to the modernisation of the Armed Forces and the Interior Ministry and reinforcing the social status of the military, law enforcement agencies and special services.

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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Comrades officers,

I would like to open this reception by congratulating all of you on graduating from military academies and universities. I wish you health and every success.

You have received a military education, which has always been one of the most prestigious in Russia; you have proved yourselves and shown excellent results in tactical, military, technical and specialised disciplines. I am confident that your skills match the level which has always been the aspiration of Russian officers — people who mastered the art of war to perfection and who held sacred their loyalty to the oath, love of their country and defence of their Fatherland.

Just recently, on June 22, we marked the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War and commemorated the heroes who saved our country and to whom the current generation of our citizens owes their lives. We also paid a tribute to military leaders and the entire officer corps, whose combat training at that time played a decisive role in defeating the enemy. To be the heirs of those men will always be a great honour for the officers of our country.

Today, at the start of the 21st century, the Russian Army and Navy are undergoing significant modernisation and must effectively counter potential threats. In recent years, including all through the difficult period of the global economic crisis, we have done everything in our power to ensure that our Armed Forces are capable of responding to modern challenges, our Armed Forces have a modern image, personnel training is of the highest level and the Armed Forces are equipped with modern weapons and advanced control and communication systems.

I think in general there has been progress but much more needs to be done. As you know, the Armed Forces have been streamlined. The Air and Space Defence Force will be formed by December 1.

The state's task is to continue addressing the social problems facing servicemen in the same spirit and context in which decisions have already been adopted.

It is also vital that the officer corps is undergoing a qualitative improvement. There are new commanders in the Armed Forces for whom service in the Army or the Navy is an absolutely conscious choice, and in fact everyone present in this hall today belongs to this group. All of you who have just graduated from military academies and universities are vested with authority. As Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces I rely on your ability to use your professional skills and personal experience to enhance the combat readiness of our Armed Forces. To achieve this, you must constantly expand your knowledge base, learn to use new military equipment and train soldiers.

We are committed to modernising not only the Armed Forces, but also other law enforcement agencies and special services. In particular, the Interior Ministry is undergoing reforms. Society expects results from the newly established police in fighting crime, corruption and other offenses.

The unscheduled performance review of Interior Ministry personnel should ensure that only the best officers continue to serve, those who are truly eager and able to defend the interests of Russian citizens, to protect their safety and help develop our country.

Serious challenges lie ahead of the representatives of other law enforcement agencies present here. The Federal Security Service must focus on effectively countering terrorism and extremism. Federal Security Service officers must use extensively the increased technical and operational opportunities, and the main efforts of the Emergencies Ministry must be aimed at preventing emergencies and ensuring high-level relief work following natural and industrial disasters.

I would like to add that the state will continue to do everything possible to support the social status of military, law enforcement and special services personnel. This includes the provision of housing, higher salaries and other measures that define the social well-being of people in uniform. This policy is currently being implemented. As Commander-in-Chief, I will enforce all the decisions that need to be enforced.

Dear graduates,

I sincerely congratulate you on completing your studies. I have no doubt that you will continue to faithfully serve our country, to protect with honour its national interests and the security of our citizens. I wish you and your families all the very best.

I propose a toast:

To the officer corps of the Russian Federation!

To the glorious traditions of our Armed Forces, Army and Navy!

To our great Motherland!

June 28, 2011