Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year Address to the Nation December 31, 2017


December 31, 2017
New Year Address to the Nation.
New Year Address to the Nation.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: 

We are on the threshold of a New Year, year 2018. Although we celebrate this every year, we are always happy to usher the year in as something new, hoping that the wishes we make at the stroke of midnight do come true.
New Year’s Eve is above all a family celebration. We mark it just as we did when we were children, with presents and pleasant surprises, as well as with a special warmth and expectation for change.
Change will certainly come to our lives if each of us takes care of our parents and values every minute we spend with them, if we try to better understand our children and their aspirations and dreams, and if we support those nearest to us who need our help and our generosity.
The ability to help, to show concern and understanding for others and to do good deeds fills our lives with true human meaning. As we celebrate, be it with family and friends, or out in the streets, we all share the same festive mood, while modern technology allows us to share our feelings with our nearest and dearest who may be hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away.
As usual, my special words are extended to those who are working at the moment, who are doing their military or professional duty at hospitals or on board aircraft or trains.
We are all together on this wonderful New Year’s night. We are also together in our everyday life as well. Unity, friendship and selfless love for Russia multiply the strength we need for worthy deeds and high achievements.
I am sincerely grateful to all of you for believing in yourself and in our country, for your work and its results. I hope there will always be trust and mutual understanding in your life.
A New Year, year 2018 will begin in just a few seconds. This is the time when we should say the most important words to each other, forgive one another’s mistakes and forget old grudges.
Embrace, say words of love, and show that you really care. May the life of each family and individual improve for the better, may you all be healthy, may children be born that make us happy.
I wholeheartedly wish happiness and all the very best to all of you, as well as peace and prosperity to Great Russia, our one and only homeland.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas and New Year greetings to heads of state and government


Vladimir Putin sent Christmas and New Year greetings to heads of state and government and heads of international organisations.
December 30, 2017

In his message of greetings to President of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba, Mr Putin noted steady progress in the development of relations between Russia and Abkhazia over the last 12 months. The President of Russia expressed confidence that the two countries would maintain their joint efforts to promote an alliance and strategic partnership to the benefit of their brotherly peoples and for strengthening peace, security and stability in the Caucasus.
In his message to President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, Mr Putin noted that only recently Russia and Armenia marked two milestones: the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. The President of Russia said he was confident that by working together Russia and Armenia would be able to further develop their alliance, as well as partnership within the Eurasian Economic Union, the CSTO, the CIS and other international frameworks for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries, and in the interests of better regional security and stability.
In his message to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Mr Putin stressed that in 2017 Russia and Azerbaijan celebrated 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, and that this anniversary was marked by new achievements in developing mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in various areas. The President of Russia went on to express hope that the two countries would continue their constructive dialogue and work in close cooperation with the view to further stepping up partnership ties between Russia and Azerbaijan in all areas in the interests of their peoples and for strengthening security and stability within and beyond the Trans-Caucasus region.
In his message of greetings to President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Mr Putin emphasised that by marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Belarus the two allied countries were reminded of the significant achievements in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas. The President of Russia said he was confident that building on the good traditions of friendship and mutual assistance, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus would continue their fruitful efforts in addressing the relevant matters on the bilateral agenda, strengthening integration ties within the Union State and the Eurasian Economic Union, and effectively coordinating their efforts within the CIS and CSTO.
The President of Russia sent New Year’s greetings to the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, in which Mr Putin reminded his counterpart that the two countries had recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations, and that this milestone was accompanied by new achievements in almost all areas of bilateral cooperation. Mr Putin said he hoped that the momentum in promoting the strategic partnership and alliance between Russia and Kazakhstan would be maintained with a view to ensuring stability and security in Central Asia and across the Eurasian space.
In his message to President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Mr Putin noted that the outgoing year could be viewed as proof of the solidity of the strategic partnership and alliance between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Specifically, the two countries were proactive in promoting political dialogue, implementing mutually beneficial bilateral projects in various areas, and coordinated their efforts with a view to resolving urgent regional issues. Mr Putin expressed his strong belief that the two countries would continue working together to expand constructive bilateral cooperation, promote integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union, and deepen their partnership within the CIS, the CSTO and the SCO.
In his message of greetings on the New Year and Christmas to President of Moldova Igor Dodon, Mr Putin praised the efforts by the Moldovan leader to promote relations between the two countries, and expressed confidence in the further strengthening of constructive cooperation in political, trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian and other areas in the interests of the friendly peoples of Russia and Moldova and for the sake of regional stability and security.
In his message to President of the Republic of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov, the President of Russia notes that Russia and South Ossetia have done a great deal in the passing year towards the implementation of the Treaty on Alliance and Integration. Vladimir Putin expressed confidence in continued consistent efforts to strengthen Russian-South Ossetian relations in all areas in the interests of our fraternal peoples, as well as peace and stability in the South Caucasus.
The President of Russia sent his New Year’s greetings to the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, noting that their two countries were making steady progress in promoting their relations in the spirit of allied and strategic partnership. In addition, Mr Putin said that he was confident that Russia and Tajikistan would continue their joint efforts to further step up mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas next year, while also coordinating their initiatives in resolving urgent regional and international issues.
In his message of greetings to President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Mr Putin noted that the outgoing year was marked by significant achievements in strengthening the strategic partnership between Russia and Turkmenistan. Specifically, the meetings between the presidents in Ashgabat and Sochi showed that the two countries were guided by similar approaches in dealing with topical matters on the regional and international agendas. The President of Russia said he was confident that by working together the countries would carry forward the momentum in their bilateral relations in all areas for the benefit of their peoples, and for the sake of peace and stability in Central Asia.
In his message to President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Vladimir Putin writes that thanks to joint efforts, 2017 became a breakthrough year for Russian-Uzbekistani relations. The parties signed several important agreements, which have advanced bilateral relations in many areas to a fundamentally new level. The President of Russia expressed confidence that the two countries would use the results achieved to bolster the development of bilateral strategic partnership and alliance and achieve greater cooperation towards strengthening peace and stability in Central Asia.
In his message of greetings on Christmas and New Year to President of the Argentine Republic Mauricio Macri the President of Russia reaffirmed his desire to promote cooperation between the two countries in many areas, both at the bilateral level and within the G20, which will build up its activity under Argentinean Presidency, Vladimir Putin wrote.
The Russian head of state extended his Christmas and New Year greetings to President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Michel Temer, noting that much had been done this year to strengthen Russian-Brazilian strategic partnership. Specifically, the parties maintain a substantive political dialogue, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation produced good results, and Russia and Brazil interacted constructive in the UN, BRICS and the G20. Vladimir Putin expressed his interest in continuing working together to strengthen the entire range of bilateral relations to the benefit of Russian and Brazilian people.
The President sent birthday, Christmas and New Year’s greetings to Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau. He wished the Prime Minister, his family and the entire Canadian nation happiness and prosperity.
In his greetings to President of China Xi Jinping on the New Year and upcoming Spring Festival, the Russian President noted that 2017 has brought more success in Russian-Chinese relations, with substantial growth in mutual trade and dynamic exchanges in science and technology, and culture and the humanitarian sphere. Vladimir Putin emphasised the fact that Moscow and Beijing cooperate extensively in global affairs and contribute greatly to the solutions of current international problems. Interregional links are also intensifying, with the Years of Interregional Cooperation planned for 2018 and 2019. Moreover, the Russian President confirmed his willingness to further cooperate in expanding comprehensive trust-based partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China for the benefit of the two neighbourly peoples.
In his message to President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba Raul Castro on the Republic’s national holiday, Liberation Day, as well as Christmas and the New Year, Mr Putin noted steady progress in promoting the strategic partnership between Russia and Cuba and expressed hope in continuing joint coordinated efforts to step up mutually beneficial political, trade and economic, scientific and technical, cultural and humanitarian and other types of cooperation.
The Russian President also extended his Christmas and New Year greetings to Czech President Milos Zeman and expressed confidence in the agreements reached at the recent meeting in Sochi facilitating development of Russian-Czech relations, mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation for the good of the two countries.
In his message to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, the Russian President expressed hope for continuing the constructive dialogue and active cooperation on strengthening neighbourly Russia-Finland relations in the interests of the two nations. “This year marked the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. I have warm memories of the festive events in Savonlinna and our substantive meeting,” the President noted in his greetings.
Vladimir Putin sent holiday greetings to French President Emmanuel Macron. “Our meeting in Versailles and telephone contacts have allowed us to discuss many current issues of bilateral relations and key international issues at length. I expect to continue our constructive dialogue and joint work aimed at strengthening Russian-French links. I look forward to your visit to Russia,” the message reads.
In his Christmas and New Year greetings to German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkeland Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Vladimir Putin confirmed his commitment to continuing the dialogue and cooperation, and expressed hope for Russia and Germany to advance on topical issues on the bilateral, regional and international agendas that will meet the ultimate interests of the two nations, and to contribute to stronger security and stability in Europe and beyond, in the upcoming year.
Vladimir Putin wrote in his message of greetings to Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban that Russian-Hungarian relations developed constructively even in the current complicated international situation. The President of Russia also expressed hope for the success of their continued cooperation towards promoting mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in the interests of their people and the European continent as a whole.
In his greetings to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin noted that the passing year has been marked with an important anniversary, 70 years of diplomatic relations between Russia and India. Appreciating the outcome of bilateral contacts in 2017, the Russian President expressed confidence in further advancing the privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India even further in politics, trade, the economy, science, technology, culture and other areas in the upcoming year, and in expanding constructive cooperation within the UN, BRICS, the SCO and other multilateral bodies in the interests of solving current regional and global issues.
Addressing Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin noted that Russian-Israeli relations are of a friendly and constructive nature. The Russian President stressed that he relies on further consolidating bilateral cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, culture and other areas, as well as partnership in ensuring stability and security in the Middle East.
In his greetings to Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia highly values relations with Italy, which are based on centuries-long traditions of friendship, mutual respect and affinity, and despite the challenging international situation, Russian-Italian cooperation in 2017 has progressed rather successfully. The Russian President also expressed his confidence in the fact that, by coordinating their efforts, Russia and Italy can make a significant contribution to increasing stability and security in Europe and the world in general.
In his greetings to Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, the President of Russia noted with satisfaction that recently, Russian-Japanese relations had progressed in a number of key areas. Thus, the political dialogue has intensified, with foreign and defence ministers’ consultations resuming in the ‘two plus two’ format, and inter-parliamentary links have expanded. The Russian President stressed that the upcoming year would be marked by a large-scale bilateral event, the Year of Russia in Japan and the Year of Japan in Russia, which is to facilitate increased trust and mutual understanding between our peoples. In addition, Vladimir Putin invited Prime Minister Abe to the opening ceremony of the cross-years next May in Moscow as well as to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The President of Russia sent his greetings to President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in, expressing the positive momentum in the friendly relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, which was attributable largely to the meaningful and constructive talks in Hamburg and Vladivostok. Mr Putin went on to express hope in further strengthening bilateral ties by working together for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries and for the sake of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia in general.
In his message of greetings to Prince Albert II of Monaco, Mr Putin noted that Russia valued highly the personal contribution by the Prince of Monaco to strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. The President of Russia also expressed hope that 2018 would open up new opportunities for friendly and trust-based exchanges on topical matters on the bilateral agenda and on key international issues.
The Russian President also sent Christmas and New Year’s greetings to President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic. In his message, Mr Putin noted the recent meeting with the Serbian leader in Moscow and emphasised that he hoped the two countries would continue working together with a view to stepping up bilateral relations in all areas to the benefit of their brotherly peoples and for the sake of regional stability and security.
In his message to the President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor, Mr Putin noted that in 2017 relations between Russia and Slovenia were developing constructively, and expressed hope that by working together the two countries would further strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in politics, the economy, humanitarian and other areas for the benefit of the peoples of Russia and Slovenia.
Addressing South African President Jacob Zuma, the President underlined that in 2017 relations between Russia and South Africa have progressed in politics, trade, the economy, science and technology, culture and other areas, which was significantly promoted by the productive and substantive talks in Hamburg and Xiamen. Vladimir Putin expressed confidence in the fact that the upcoming South African Presidency in BRICS would further intensify this multilateral association’s activity and expand opportunities for interaction between Moscow and Pretoria on current international issues.
In his holiday greetings to King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, the Russian President expressed hope for developing mutually beneficial links between Russia and Spain in 2018 for the good of the two nations and in the interests of stronger stability and security on the European continent.
In his message of greetings to the President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad, the President of Russia expressed hope that in 2018 the situation in Syria would continue changing for the better. Mr Putin noted that defeating terrorists and rapidly bringing the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic back to normal would be in the best interests of the whole world and would improve security in the Middle East. In addition, Mr Putin confirmed Russia’s commitment to assisting the Syrian Arab Republic in upholding its state sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and promoting a political settlement and economic recovery.
The President of Russia also sent greetings to the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stressing that in the outgoing year Russia and Turkey not only succeeded in putting their bilateral relations back on track, but also achieved substantial progress in enhancing their bilateral cooperation in many areas. “By working closely together our countries have succeeded in preventing the terrorist threat from spreading further across the Middle East and created conditions for launching the political settlement of the Syrian conflict,” the message reads. In addition, Vladimir Putin confirmed his interest in continued constructive dialogue and proactive engagement on all matters on the bilateral, regional and international agendas.
The head of state sent his Christmas and New Year’s greetings to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Prime Minister Theresa May. He pointed out that closer Russian-UK cooperation would be in the basic interests of the Russian and British people and Europe as a whole.
In his message of greetings to President of the United States of America Donald Trump, Mr Putin noted, among other things, his strong belief that in the current challenging international environment, it is especially important for Russia and the US to engage in constructive dialogue with a view to enhancing global strategic stability and finding the best solutions to the global challenges and threats. The President of Russia stressed the importance of the principles of equality and mutual respect as the foundation for developing bilateral relations. “This would allow us to make progress in promoting pragmatic cooperation designed for the long term,” the message reads.
In a message to His Holiness Pope Francis, the President of Russia expressed hope for continued constructive cooperation between Russia and the Vatican towards protecting peace and global human values and strengthening dialogue between civilisations and religions. Vladimir Putin wished His Holiness the Pope health, happiness and success in his noble endeavours.
The Russian leader sent Christmas and New Year greetings to President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro. Vladimir Putin wrote in his message that the recent talks in Moscow were very constructive and productive and expressed hope that they would continue to work together to strengthen the relations of strategic partnership between Russia and Venezuela.
Vladimir Putin also sent his greetings to President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang and General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong. He expressed satisfaction with the development of Russian-Vietnamese strategic partnership and hope that the implementation of the agreements they reached in Moscow and Danang would help boost bilateral relations in all spheres and joint actions by our two countries in the interests of stronger peace, stability and security in the Asian-Pacific region.
The President of Russia also extended his New Year greetings to several heads of international organisations, specifically UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, Honorary President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, honorary member of the International Olympic Committee Jean-Claude Killy, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel and President of the International Judo Federation Marius Vizer.
The Russian President also sent greetings to President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Gianni Infantino and thanked him for his assistance in the successful organisation of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and expressed confidence in further efficient cooperation on the largest sporting festival, the FIFA World Cup.

President Putin also sent Christmas and New Year greetings to several former heads of foreign states and governments as well as political figures, including Almazbek AtambayevSilvio Berlusconi, Romano Prodi, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Nicolas SarkozyFrancois Fillon, Gerhard Schroeder and Tarja Halonen.

Meeting with service personnel who took part in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria


Vladimir Putin met with Russian Armed Forces service personnel who took part in the anti-terrorist operation in the Syrian Arab Republic. During the meeting that took place in the St George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, the President presented state decorations to those who distinguished themselves while performing special missions in Syria.
December 28, 2017
The Kremlin, Moscow
 With Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Meeting with service personnel who took part in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria.
Over 600 soldiers and officers from all branches of the Russian Armed Forces have been invited to attend the event.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, friends,
I am honoured to welcome you to the Kremlin’s St George Hall, the hall of Russian military glory to which you have added your own bright and victorious page.
Today we are celebrating you as true defenders of Russia. You did your duty excellently. You fulfilled the most difficult tasks in Syria and have returned home to your relatives and loved ones victorious. As your Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I thank you and all your comrades-in-arms for your professionalism and selflessness and for your commitment to your military duty and your oath.
But my warmest words go to the female military personnel who endured combat hardships alongside their comrades at the forefront of hostilities. Thank you very much.
Over 48,000 Russian soldiers and officers took part in the operations in Syria in a little over two years. They came from nearly all military fields: Air Force and Navy, special units and military police, mine clearing units, reconnaissance, communications, special medical and logistics services, military command and military advisers. Each of you acted valiantly and resolutely, as the sons and daughters of our great Homeland, the soldiers of our Army and Navy should, considering their enduring and heroic traditions of valour, honour and dignity.
You fought for Russia’s interests, for Russia, for your home, for the right and just cause. Therefore, our entire nation was behind you. I am sure that you felt this civil solidarity and patriotism, and this unity between the army and the people empowered you. The public followed the daily developments and reports from Syria. Our people believed in you. They are proud of you and our Armed Forces. They felt the pain of every grievous loss sincerely, as their own.
We will always remember your comrades who were killed in the line of duty. They perished defending Russia. Their names will be eternalised in the personnel lists of their units. Their heroic deeds will serve as examples to the younger generation of officers and soldiers. We will always support and take care of their families, parents, children and loved ones. We will do everything for this.
Now let us honour their memory.
(A minute of silence)
Comrade officers,
The memory of our heroes will strengthen our determination in the fight against international terrorism as well as other threats to our country.
As it has happened many times in history, Russia made a crucial, decisive input to the defeat of the criminal forces that challenged the entire civilisation, to the destruction of the terrorist army, the barbaric dictatorship that brought death and devastation, erased hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, historical and cultural monuments from the face of the earth, and planned to turn Syria and its neighbours into a launching ground for global aggression targeting our country. Should the terrorists have won in Syria, expanded their ranks with new recruits, accessed money, oil sources and modern weapons they would have certainly continued their global attack with new and advanced forces.
They received a deserved punishment for their crimes. Their equipment, headquarters, infrastructure and thousands of militants were destroyed.
As you know, a terrorist attack was perpetrated in St Petersburg yesterday, and the Federal Security Service has recently thwarted another terrorist attack. And what would happen if hundreds and thousands of people whom I have just mentioned came back here well trained and armed?
By the way, I instructed the Director of the Federal Security Service yesterday to act within the bounds of the law while dealing with these thugs and arresting them. However, if the lives and health of our operatives and officers are at risk, the FSB must act resolutely, take no prisoners and eliminate terrorists on the spot.
The Russian Army and Navy have displayed their improved capability in full measure, and they have successfully used up-to-date weapons and equipment. Aerospace Forces pilots flew 34,000 sorties and launched 166 high-precision strikes against terrorist facilities. The Syrian Army has liberated the entire country and over 1,000 population centres with the key support of Russia’s Aerospace Forces and Navy.
Your heroism and professional actions have made it possible to preserve Syria’s statehood, to stop mass murders, executions and terror against civilians, have made it possible to launch a political settlement of the conflict in that country, to restore normal life and to return tens of thousands of refugees.
Syrian citizens will remember with gratitude the courage of Russian service personnel who sometimes delivered food, medications and essentials under fire. They will remember with gratitude the peacekeeping efforts of Russian officers who worked at the Centre for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides to stop bloodshed and to give people hope.
Comrade officers,
You have performed all the missions that were assigned to you. Your military units have returned back to the places of their permanent deployment in Russia. In Syria, two Russian bases – an air base in Khmeimim and a naval facility in the port of Tartus – will remain and operate on a permanent basis. This is an important factor in defending our national interests as well as ensuring Russia’s security in one of the key, strategic sectors.
We intend to continue improving the Armed Forces and their combat and technical capability, to create a new-generation army, and to develop a system of special guarantees for service personnel, their family members, and military pensioners. These are our absolute priorities, because the Armed Forces are the basis of Russia’s independence and security, which means its irreversible, sustainable development and progress.
In this large-scale and responsible work to promote military organisation, strengthen the army and the navy, and address other large-scale tasks facing our country, I certainly count on you, merited and still very young veterans of the Syrian operation, on the patriotism, willpower, experience and military conditioning of all our officers and men.
I wish you every success in your careers. Let me congratulate you on returning home. I am happy to have this opportunity to present state decorations to you.
Colonel General Sergei Surovikin: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces,
Permit me to express my gratitude for your appreciation of my military service and the high decoration I have been awarded today. This obliges me to many things, such as to continue to serve Russia selflessly to my last breath. I believe that this state decoration has been awarded to me not just for the services I have done personally, but primarily for the services done by my subordinates and comrades-in-arms, as well as for the mastery of my commanders and my teachers, which they shared with me during my student years as well as my military service.
While doing our combat duty in Syria, we never forgot for a second that we were protecting Russia and that we must do this to the best of our ability, as we had pledged to do in our military oath when entering military service, as well as out of the deep understanding of our responsibility to the country for eliminating the global terrorist threat.
Speaking on behalf of all service personnel, I thank you, Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, for your high appreciation of our military operation in Syria, for your efforts to strengthen peace, Russia and the army, as well as for your concern for service personnel.
We are ready to fulfil any task you will give us. Please, rest assured that the Aerospace Forces will ensure the inviolability of Russia’s borders and will protect national interests in the air as well as in space.
Allow me to wish you and all citizens of Russia a happy New Year and to wish you all the very best, happiness and prosperity.
Thank you.
Major Maxim Makolkin: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,
Let me express my sincere gratitude to you for this high state decoration.
Military pilots are proud of being the ones whom you entrusted to be the main attack power of the Russian forces in Syria. We received a unique opportunity to test our weapons and hone our piloting skills in combat conditions. The high potential of our aviation equipment, its reliability as well as the professionalism of our aircrews enabled us to feel our indisputable superiority in the sky.
On seeing our Western coalition partners in the air, we always tailed them, as pilots say, which means a victory in real combat.
Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
Let me assure you that Russia’s military pilots are always ready to defend our Motherland, ensure its stability and protect its interests in any region of the world.
Thank you.
Senior Sergeant Tatyana Kovaleva: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,
Let me express sincere words of gratitude to you for the opportunity to represent here, in the heart of Russia, at the Moscow Kremlin, the medical specialists who were performing their mission in the Syrian Arab Republic.
It is the greatest honour for me today to receive a state decoration from you personally, from the President of our country and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. I share this very high assessment of my work with my comrades-in-arms, my glorious Airborne Troops and Medical Specialists Corps of the Russian Army.
While in Syria, we acted in accordance with our Russian traditions, in Russian style: protecting the Syrian people, showing mercy and compassion through real deeds and rendering comprehensive assistance and support to the population of that long-suffering country. Russian military medics, often at the risk of their lives, provided medical aid to hundreds of people, delivered medications to remote villages, trained and consulted our Syrian colleagues and helped restore the war-embattled medical system. And all the time, we remembered that we represent Russia and this helped us do our job.
Mr President, let me, on behalf of all medical specialists, thank you for the high assessment of our work and assure you that we faithfully serve and will continue to serve our Fatherland, great Russia led by our President.
Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Comrade officers, friends,
I would like to once again congratulate the recipients of the state decorations, and everyone attending this ceremony, as well as the 48,000 service personnel who took part in the Syrian operation.
You know and see better than anyone else that our armed forces have changed radically over the past two years, because our people have proved equal to the task, which is the most important thing, as well as because they have seen how our military equipment works, how command and logistics elements work, and how modern our Armed Forces have become. The entire world has seen this as well, but the most important thing is that our people have seen it. This is very important, because people must feel protected; they must feel that their security is reliably guaranteed.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the defence industry, whose personnel often worked side by side with you, doing their duty by adjusting the latest military equipment to combat duty and turning this modern equipment into a powerful force.
As I have told you, we will continue to modernise our Armed Forces, the Navy and the Army. I pin my hopes on you and those like you. This means that I pin my hopes on the entire Army and Navy, which is made up of such people as you.
I also want to extend my gratitude to your families and loved ones, who worried about you, and to thank them for their understanding and support.
Thank you, and a happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Year reception at the Kremlin

Vladimir Putin attended a gala reception celebrating the New Year 2018.
December 27, 2017
The Kremlin, Moscow
  New Year reception at the Kremlin.
New Year reception at the Kremlin.
As part of the gala events organised at the State Kremlin Palace, the President also attended the performance of Russia’s Children’s Choir and met with elected and acting regional governors as well as those who resigned in 2017.
* * *
Speech at gala reception devoted to seeing in the 2018
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
I am happy to welcome you as we approach the New Year 2018.
Today everyone has a lot of pre-holiday concerns. We are trying to complete urgent tasks and observe the review schedule.
This holiday has its own New Year’s challenges and commotion as well as good traditions. We are following them with the hope and belief in the best things.
Each of you, every family has had its own record in the outgoing year. Some people will consider it successful whereas for others it was not easy. For them, it has been a year of overcoming difficulties.
But I am sure that each of us has tried to fulfil his goals, do something good for the country, for people around, for our families, and for those who are near to us and who need help and support.
The road to achieving a goal and attaining a result, for progress and preparedness to be useful always means development, gaining experience and knowledge, and displaying persistence and resolve, courage and responsibility.
Those who have gathered here today are displaying these very qualities and helping achieve our common goals – the prosperity of Russia and our people.
I am sincerely grateful to you for your honest, professional work, successes in government service, on the battlefield, in public affairs, business and creative endeavours.
Let us remember the outgoing year as yet another important stage in our life. We are bidding farewell to it, understanding that many new concerns, tasks and ambitious plans lie ahead. I am convinced that we will achieve success by all means and resolve even the most complicated challenges. Everything is in our hands and everything depends on us alone!
Please accept my sincere greetings on the coming New Year 2018. I wish you and your families and friends good health and energy, and a striving to reach new goals.
Allow me to offer a toast.
To the wellbeing and prosperity of the people of Russia!
To our Motherland!
To Russia!
Happy New Year to you!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

United Russia Party congress

United Russia Party congress
Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the United Russia political party 17th Congress.
December 23, 2017
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
Nearly 2,500 people are taking part in the congress, including 455 delegates from the party’s 85 regional branches, heads of ministries and agencies, State Duma deputies, representatives of the regional executive and legislative bodies, secretaries of United Russia regional political councils, and representatives of the expert and scientific communities.
The congress has two discussion venues on key items of the party’s agenda, where the participants sum up the year’s results and set tasks for the future.
* * *
Speech at the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress
Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues,
Many of you present here today took part in building the United Russia Party. We did it at a complicated and critical stage in the life of our state, when the nation needed a powerful unifying force for its steady development, for strengthening its statehood and addressing large-scale challenges. The United Russia Party has achieved and continues to achieve this goal. I am very pleased to note that and would like to thank you for that.
United Russia has earned its leading position by real actions in the interests of the people, to the benefit of our regions, and to the benefit of the whole country. The people of Russia and all of us have walked down a hard but monumental road of development. We did not sidestep from the designated track and responded well to the challenges of the hardest trials and crises, including global ones, often completely out of our control. We stood together in countering the assault of international terrorism, in standing up for Russia’s independence and self-reliance, and we showed unity in deciding the fate of Crimea and Sevastopol.
We turned around seemingly insurmountable trends in the economy, demographics and social sphere. We ensured Russia’s enhanced security and growing influence in the world. Huge infrastructure projects and large-scale construction sites, new enterprises and advanced industries are the results of our joint work.
If we managed to achieve anything, the credit definitely goes to the Russian people, their will, labour, confidence, sometimes sacrifices, faith in patriotism as a key idea, belief in their Motherland. All that is the decisive force behind our progress
Yes, we realise that we could have achieved more. This is always the case when one takes up the most difficult tasks, when one sets ambitious goals. And it is clear that if such super tasks are set, we can be sure from the onset that we may fail in some areas. But it is much worse when such ambitious goals are not set. Then nothing will come out at all.
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
At the same time, we must honestly identify unresolved issues and persevere in solving them, removing everything that impedes progress. We must set even more ambitious goals and achieve results. There are many urgent things we must work on. What has been done is just the foundation but not a guarantee of further successful development. The future depends on our ability to ensure that changes are irreversible, to preserve and considerably augment what we have achieved over the past years.
I would like to emphasise, to draw your attention to the fact that the irreversibility of achievements and changes means our readiness to respond to global challenges, to defend Russia’s statehood and people’s lives and security from threats and shocks, and to lay the foundation for growing prosperity for everyone.
Everyone must be ensured a worthy place in the future. We must keep opening up broad opportunities for the success and self-fulfilment of each individual. Securing such continuity, sustainable and uninterrupted development of the nation is the main responsibility of all the constructive and visionary political and social forces.
It means that despite all the differences in opinions, approaches and proposals on developing the country, we must be guided by the citizens’ rights and freedoms, Russia’s long-term interests and the strength of our statehood. We can succeed in implementing our plans only on condition of general national accord.
For our country to live, to be revived, to preserve its identity, we must protect the basic values existing in society. They are patriotism, mutual understanding, concord between the peoples of our multi-ethnic nation, and respect for our history, culture, traditions, freedoms, rights and the dignity of man.
These values fortify our resolve to work for the common good and fuel the energy of volunteer activities. Caring, selfless people make an invaluable contribution to solving specific issues. They do not wait for somebody else to come and do it for them.
People’s responsibility, their participation in devising and implementing the development agenda is the basis for a strong and mature civil society, and undoubtedly, for a stable political and state system.
Stability must not meat inertia, stagnation, or a frozen petrified structure that lags behind the challenges of the time. If it were like that, everything could collapse at any moment and expose the country to the risk of destruction and dissolution, as it happened in our recent history.
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
We remember those lessons of history and that is why we keep developing our state and political system, making it more flexible, capable of adapting to the rapid changes of the modern world. The ability to meet the demands of people and society, their growing desire to actively participate in the life of the country – these are the things that we should be guided by.
I would also like to stress that nothing undermines stability and steals the resource of development as much as untruth, injustice, lawlessness, the rust of corruption and bribery, indifference to one’s own country and distancing oneself from people’s needs, whether displayed by politicians, officials, businesses or those who call themselves “the elite.”
All these things weaken and undermine sustainable development, our social solidarity and stability. Let me underscore this – it is these matters, not people’s fair demands to solve outstanding problems.
It is my conviction that we should further expand the mechanisms of direct democracy, fully release the potential of civil activities laid in our Constitution, encourage the competition of ideas, proposals and approaches to solving development issues. We must have a respectful attitude towards competent and responsible opposition. And being such opposition means not only the wish and readiness to argue with the authorities or to accuse them of every mortal sin. We are aware of the problems the country is facing. Being responsible means having a clear-cut programme of positive action.
Let me emphasise that I see the key guarantee of the irreversibility of change in a strong, responsible, free civil society, as its structures operate for the sake of creation, for the good of the people and the country, and take part in addressing the most complicated social issues.
Such society rejects populism and idle talk. Such a society is resistant to any attempts to destabilise it. It will never let the country be dragged into chaos, be led astray, made weak and dependent. We know that such examples are plentiful in many countries around us. It can happen very fast if we are not committed to stability in society.
Colleagues, the irreversibility of our development largely ensures the firmness of Russia’ sovereignty and the combat capability of its army and navy. Our strength is directed at defence from external threats, from terrorism. We are not and will not be looking for confrontation with anyone. We will continue to pursue an open and honest foreign policy, we will strengthen the Eurasian Economic Union with our partners, and promote our initiative on establishing a new broader integration contour – the Grand Eurasian Partnership. We are ready to work with all countries – both in the West and in the East, on the principles of trust and equality. Yet we will never sacrifice the security of our citizens and our national interests (Applause).
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
For our people, for Russia to carry on, we must overcome the drastic aftermath of the demographic gaps the country faced last century, to preserve, and in the future to increase the country’s population . This is what our new additional measures on the support of motherhood, childhood and families with children are targeting. I would even say that the whole policy, all our work – in the economy, social sphere and other fields – should be aimed at preserving the nation, at solving the issues of demographic development.
That means modern healthcare and promoting a healthy active lifestyle, decreasing the mortality rate and increasing life expectancy in the coming years. It means new schools, crèches and kindergartens; creating a modern environment for living in cities and rural areas; good environmental conditions, modern infrastructure, utilities and roads; comfortable quality housing that is affordable for millions of Russians. Finally, it simply means people’s wellbeing and welfare – it consists of all of the above. We must achieve continuous stable growth of real incomes for our citizens, as well as pensions and social benefits.
We must certainly continue our efforts to decrease the number of people with incomes below the subsistence level, eradicate poverty, decreasing its level and the number of low-income people, which is a threat for the stability and unity of our society as it denigrates people. The situation should become intolerable when a person who has a good profession and qualifications gets a meagre wage for his or her work and literally lives from hand to mouth.
Let me remind you in this connection that we should certainly not adopt populist policies, give promises that cannot be kept or squander money the way it was done in the 1990s. We remember that under the pressure of circumstances Parliament and the Government often approved decisions that could never have been implemented; then they did nothing and took on new obligations that were never met either.
This is a path that we must certainly avoid. We remember what it led to. It led to 40 million people living below the poverty line in 2000, which was almost one third of the population back then. Today the figure stands at 20 million, and this figure too is unacceptably high.
We had a period when the figure stood at 15 million but, unfortunately, crisis effects, external restrictions and falling demand for our traditional exports in the world markets did their dirty deed. But now Russia has recovered from the recession, we have reached the stage of sustainable economic growth, and we must target poverty by taking advantage of the economic growth and labour productivity. We must do it the way we targeted inflation, and we have managed to achieve positive results, as you know. We must do the same in this case.
It is vitally important to radically change this situation, as people’s wellbeing, the wellbeing of their children and families, their social perception and confidence in the future are a guarantee of sustainable, progressive development of the country. I am sure that we can and must ensure conditions for every person regardless of age or any restrictions to be able to raise their qualifications, open their own business or have a good job.
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
What must we do to achieve that? We must establish a new employment market and a flexible modern system of vocational training.
Economic crises, and as I have already said, and external restrictions did not allow us to fulfil the task of reaching an economic growth above the world’s average. But it is imperative that we do it, and we will. Russia must not only secure a place among the world’s top five economies, but also approach the level of the advanced countries in terns of GDP per capita. It is this indicator that shows the quality and technological level of the economy, labour productivity and ultimately people’s wellbeing.
To achieve that, we will have to drastically modernise the country’s infrastructure, which is a top priority task for the short term. Raising efficiency and labour productivity in the traditional branches of the economy, making a breakthrough here similar to the one underway in agriculture, transport and communications, telecommunications, the pharmaceutical industry and the military-industrial complex of Russia.
Our successful large and growing companies should enter the world market and become global champions. Meanwhile, the top political, economic and social priority for the coming years remains the development of small and middle-sized business.
Russia must become a space of true economic freedom for every individual who has his or her own business, for tens of thousands of new startups, small family businesses, farms, self-employed entrepreneurs. This is also a guarantee of the irreversibility and sustainability of our development. We have to establish most favourable conditions for efficient labour, investment, business initiatives, to remove artificial barriers and unfounded restrictions. We will certainly pursue this work in the future.
I believe it important to continue improving and liberalising the existing legislation, including by dropping all the vague, ambiguous, unclear legal norms that are used by corrupt law enforcement officials to harass businesses, to force them to pay up and defraud them of their property.
Of course, we should develop fundamentally new industries. This is crucial, there can be no future without it. Industries related to the introduction of advanced digital and industrial technologies, bio-engineering, robotics. The branches are already shaping the future of modern civilisation and must ensure our country’s sustainability, progress and standing in tomorrow’s world.
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
Science and education play an enormous role here. Russian schools must be among the world’s best in terms of quality and scope of training, and our colleges, vocational schools and universities must adopt leading standards in training workers, engineers, researchers and specialists of the new technological paradigm.
We focus on developing the abilities and talents each child, each young person has. Work skills contests and grants for young researchers, support of gifted school and university students, the Sirius educational centre and the whole constellation of children’s techno parks, creative groups – all these projects are united by a common aim. This network must continue to expand. It is much too narrow today.
This means a successful future for the nation, its development that will be ensured by the strong, creative, talented and bright young generation of Russians. The key is that young people in large cities and small towns, in the countryside and in villages should have equal opportunities for self-fulfilment.
Only then will we ensure that strong young professionals enter politics and business, government agencies, industries, and all other spheres. Patriotic, honest, daring, committed, active people who understand and share the country’s development agenda and participate in its implementation, who consider it to be their own agenda which meets their dreams and aspirations. We must do all we can to ensure such continuity. Young people are the people of the coming new age. I am sure they will firmly stand up for Russia’s interests, will lead the country along the path of progress, leadership and prosperity.
Friends, Russia is made up of millions of very different people with their joys, hardships and problems. They toil, work, make families, and raise children. And it means our centuries-old history goes on. Our joint work, determination, energy and responsibility for Russia’s present and its future is the most reliable guarantee of its dignified, breakthrough, irreversible development.
I am confident of our success because millions of Russians are with us. We are together, we are moving forward. And there is certainly no power that can stop Russia’s forward movement. We will make our way from one victory to another. This is sure to happen!
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
Friends, Mr Medvedev, colleagues,
I cannot but say a few words, literally a few words.
Russia is a country with a thousand-year history. But we should not treat it as a beloved granny – give her medications on time so that she does not have any pains, and do nothing else. Not at all.
We must make Russia young, focused on the future, and it is becoming like that with every new generation. But to achieve that we must resolve all those issues that we have just spoken about. We must introduce significant changes in the development of healthcare and education, in infrastructure, because without healthcare and education we will not solve another key task – bringing innovation into our economy, developing digitalisation, biotechnology and so on, the things Mr Medvedev has just spoken about in his speech. This cannot be done by people who are not healthy or educated. All that is closely interconnected in the modern world.
There are very many people, both here, among this audience, and those who are not here but who support us, who do their job, working on the ground, as we say. They know that these tasks cannot be resolved with slogans and catchwords alone or just by handing out money to someone at a certain political stage without caring about what will happen tomorrow. This is a road to nowhere. United Russia has always been a very responsible political force and it has always had a professional approach to tackling the challenges facing the country.
What does that mean? It means – and I would like to address those who are responsible for taking concrete decisions in Parliament and locally – it means that by identifying development tasks we must make timely decisions, however debatable they might seem at the time when they are taken.
We must shed everything that stands in the way of Russia’s renewal – we have a lot of things accumulated here – everything that stands in the way of making it young, forward-looking and driven. All that must be identified and discarded. We must create mechanisms that will let us move forward.
Everyone knows that we need funding to solve the tasks we have spoken about. Where can we get it? Do we have funds or not? We do, but we have to make a lot of adjustments to the tax system, we have to absolutely and categorically ensure the development of the pension system so that current retirees and those who will retire in the future can be confident that everything is reliable and stable in that area.
At the plenary session of the 17th United Russia Party congress.
We must continue to ensure the country’s defence capability. We have a great many tasks, and we must act responsibly and professionally, basing our actions on the long-term prospects of the country’s development rather than on the present-day situation. The key issue here is the ability to explain to the people what is being done and for what purposes, and what we are expecting to achieve. In that case, the people will support us, and we will be able to rely on them. And if something goes wrong, we have to say clearly, honestly and sincerely, “Yes, we wanted it that way but it turned out otherwise; we can see that and we will rectify it with your support and with your help.”
This is the only way to achieve what I spoke about at the end of my speech. Only in that case will we be able to march from one victory to another. I really count on your support, thank you very much for it.

Thank you.