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Presenting Hero of Labour medals and Russian Federation National Awards

June 12, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow

As is traditional, on Russia Day, the President presented the Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation gold medals and the 2023 Russian Federation National Awards in science and technology, literature and the arts, and for outstanding achievements in human rights and charity work in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St George Hall.

Following the ceremony, the President had brief conversation with winners of the National Awards and Heroes of Labour of the Russian Federation.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues,

I wish you all the very best on Russia Day! This is a national holiday that is dedicated to our Motherland. We celebrate it by paying tribute to our country, with all the pride we take in its centuries-old history and the due recognition of our ancestors’ legacy, their achievements and victories.

More than a thousand years ago, our nation’s journey began in places like Veliky Novgorod, Rurikovo Gorodische, or Rurik’s Fort, Staraya Ladoga, and Izborsk. They were the cradle of our civilisation, statehood and culture. This is where Russia comes from, the largest state in Europe at that time, which brought together Slavic, Finno-Ugric, Turkic and other tribes from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

The glory and sovereign grandeur of Ancient Rus grew and strengthened through the glorious eras of the Muscovite Kingdom, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. And all these phases are one inseparable whole with present-day Russia.

And therefore, I consider it necessary and historically appropriate to mark Russia Day as a symbol of the continuity of the thousand years of our nation's journey.

Russian statehood went through many difficult, even tragic periods. But our people stood up to every challenge, always overcoming obstacles. They have triumphed over adversity by making and creating, and made their Motherland even greater.

Today, when Russia is going through a difficult period, patriotism and responsibility for our Motherland’s future are bringing our society even closer again. These feelings are understood and cherished by each of us. They serve as a tower of strength for our fighters taking part in the special military operation. The whole country, our entire multi-ethnic nation supports our heroes.

Outstanding citizens of Russia who will receive the Hero of Labour gold medals and the National Award badges today are also true to the traditions of solidarity and work for the common good.

My friends, I warmly congratulate you! Thank you for your high service to the Motherland. And now, as is traditional, I will name those who have been awarded the title Hero of Labour.

Viktor Sadovnichy devoted his whole life to the development of Russian education and science, to advancing the achievements of Moscow State University. As a leader, scientist, and statesman, he is certainly a personality of a unique calibre. Viktor Sadovnichy became the rector of Moscow State University in the difficult time, in the early 1990s, and made every effort to maintain the leading position of the famous university.

Lyudmila Bespalova, a brilliant biologist and one of the most famous Russian seed breeders, has created her own scientific school. Thanks to her work, more than 100 new varieties and hybrids of wheat have been created; their widespread use has led to greater efficiency and independence of domestic agriculture.

The Hero of Labour title has been awarded to Mikhail Budnichenko, General Director of Sevmash, a legendary enterprise that produces nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines ensuring the reliability and immense combat capabilities of Russia’s nuclear triad.

Yeltugan Syzdykov, Chief Designer at Raduga, Russia’s oldest engineering design bureau that manufactures advanced rockets, has also made an outstanding contribution to the effort to enhance Russia’s defence capabilities.

Vladimir Shchedov, mill operator at the Mikhailovsky Ore-Mining and Processing Plant, and Alexei Khalmakshinov, driver at the Tugnuisky coalmine, have chosen highly relevant and sought-after jobs in the mining industry. Both are held in high regard at their enterprises, where they abundantly share their work experience with younger colleagues who feel very proud of them.


This year, our country marks a major anniversary – namely, three hundred years of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Since its foundation, scientific research and fundamental discoveries have served as a powerful driving force of the national development.

Today, during the crucial landmark stage we are going through, science and innovative approaches serve as the basis for solving numerous challenging tasks our country is facing.

I am pleased to introduce today’s winners of the National Award in science and technology, whose efforts ensure Russia’s technological leadership in the most essential fields.

Yevgeny Adamov, Vladimir Asmolov and Mikhail Kovalchuk are the first on the globe to have proposed and begun implementing the idea of a closed fuel cycle for nuclear reactors, creating an eco-friendly method of producing nuclear energy.

The winners also include Pyotr Chumakov, a molecular biologist who made a series of fundamental studies contributing to a new cancer treatment method that uses the oncolytic properties of certain viruses, or so-called oncovaccines. This year, Russia’s flagship Hertsen Moscow Oncology Research Institute will start extensive clinical research on these oncovaccines.

A team of Russian medical researchers that includes Sergei Gauthier, Marina Minina and Mogeli Khubutiya has taken a major step forward in transplantation of vital organs. Until very recently, organ transplants were quite rare in the domestic healthcare system. Today, however, vigorous efforts and medical talents of the award winners have allowed for the number of these complex surgeries soaring to several thousand per year, not only in capital cities, but also in many regions across Russia.

Preservation and development are, perhaps, the main challenges facing Russian culture. We have something to be proud of, to preserve and pass on to future generations. And our land has always been and remains abundant with remarkable and amazing talents. Among them, no doubt, are the current winners of the State Awards in Literature and the Arts.

For their enormous contribution to the revival of the Tsarskoye Selo Palace and Park Ensemble, the prize was awarded to real professionals, who are wholeheartedly committed to the cause they serve. They are Olga Taratynova, Director of the Tsarskoye Selo Museum-Reserve, and Boris Igdalov, who has devoted more than 40 years of his life to the restoration of destroyed masterpieces. The Amber Room was one of them.

Sculptor Andrei Korobtsov and architect Konstantin Fomin have chosen perpetuation of significant events and heroes of the national history as the key subject of their creative activity. The most outstanding works of monumental art of recent years were created in their workshop. First of all, I am talking about the Rzhev Memorial to the Soviet Soldier, about memorials dedicated to the Battle of Kursk and to the civilians of the USSR, victims of Nazi genocide during the Great Patriotic War. Such works are much more than our grateful memory. This is an address to the future generations of Russian citizens, to those who will continue building our country, defending its interests and promoting the values of its great culture in the world.

Ildar Abdrazakov, a brilliant master of vocal art, has made education of the future generations a part of his rich creative life. Being one of the most sought-after opera singers of our time, he created the Young Talent Support Fund and, despite touring and performing, he painstakingly seeks out and nurtures young talents.

I also want to thank Ildar Abdrazakov for reviving the tradition of opera artists performing songs of the war years. Your concert programme was a huge success, including among young people. This is very important for preserving the memory of the heroic deeds of the winners’ generation that defeated Nazism.

Helping those who need support has become a commitment of Nikolay Slabzhanin’s life, the winner of the Charity Award. Founder of the Siberian Centre for Public Initiatives, he has made a meaningful contribution to the development of the volunteer movement. Nikolai Slabzhanin’s many years of experience was needed by the Russian committee SOS Children's Villages. He has been its head for 16 years and together with his like-minded colleagues has implemented a programme to prevent child abandonment. Thanks to this project, more than 30,000 children have been supported and given the opportunity to live and be brought up in birth families.

The life of Yulia Belekhova, an award-winning human rights activist, is an impressive example of how the ability to empathise and care for others can make a practical change for the better. She initiated the establishment of the Committee of Families of Fatherland's Soldiers, which united servicemen and their relatives with hundreds of volunteers and earned enormous respect in society and people's trust through real deeds. Over a year and a half, the committee has delivered more than 6,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to frontline areas, and has taken veterans of the Special Military Operation and their families under its wing. Yulia Belekhova is not only a public figure, but also a mother of six. One of her sons is a participant in the Special Military Operation. She certainly deserves great respect for giving so much time and effort to public and human rights activity.

Dear friends,

Only together, hand in hand can we solve the ambitious tasks our country faces. A personal example of talented, intelligent, successful people, who are ready to do their utmost for the common good, plays a huge role in that. Such involvement in the destiny of the Motherland, devotion to one's vocation, ability to tirelessly go forward is peculiar to each of you.

I heartily congratulate you on the high awards of the Motherland and wish you all the best. I wish you more successes.

Thank you.


Vladimir Putin: Dear laureates and award winners,

Colleagues and friends,

When you see the materials of this kind of events like today’s one, then one way or another you get immersed in information related to the activities, life achievements in the work of our current laureates and award winners and people like them.

I want to share with you my impressions in this respect. When you begin reading all this, it all looks like some adventure fiction. I am saying it quite sincerely because it is impossible to get away from reading what and how people like our today’s laureates and awardees have done, what they have come to and what they have achieved – those who are here today at this event.

No doubt, they could speak about it endlessly – about health care, medicine in a broad sense, they could talk about science, education, improving defence capabilities, submarines, the arts, charity and so on.

Rector of the Moscow State University Mr Sadovnichy said that he was happy to be always surrounded by people who believe in Russia’s future.

The task of government agencies is not to hamper people like you but to become aware of what you are doing and to support you. Anyhow, it is precisely people like you who determine the development agenda in all areas of the state’s life.

Mr Sadovnichy said that he was happy to have been surrounded by people who believed in Russia’s future. And when one learns about the results of your work, this faith grows and strengthens many times over.

I congratulate you and wish you all the best.

Happy holiday! Happy Russia Day!

The National Anthem of Russia plays.

June 12, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow