RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Reception to mark National Unity Day”

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Kremlin.ru – November 4, 2017)

At the reception in the Grand Kremlin Palace, Vladimir Putin greeted all Russians on National Unity Day and presented the Presidential Prize for contributions to strengthening the Russian nation’s unity and the Order of Friendship to foreign nationals for their efforts in strengthening peace and mutual understanding between peoples.

The Presidential Prize for contributions to strengthening the Russian nation’s unity was established in 2016 and is awarded for activities aimed at consolidating the multiethnic Russian people and harmonising interethnic relations. Vyacheslav Mikhailov, Chair of Ethnic and Federative Relations at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, is the 2017 Prize winner.

The President also presented the Order of Friendship to a number of foreign citizens for their outstanding services to strengthening peace, friendship and mutual understanding between peoples, to preserving and popularising the Russian language and culture abroad.

The state decorations of the Russian Federation were awarded to Rafael Guzman Tirado, Professor of Greek and Slavic Philology, University of Granada, Kingdom of Spain; Anja Kopac Mrak, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia; Tomislav Nikolic, President of the Republic of Serbia (from May 31, 2012 to May 31, 2017), Chairman of the National Council for Coordination of Cooperation with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China; Gilles Remy, CEO of CIFAL, the French Republic; Cavit Caglar, Chairman of the Management Board, Nergis Holding, Republic of Turkey; Jean-Pierre Chevènement, Special Representative of the French Government on relations with Russia, the French Republic; Zoran Jankovic, Mayor of Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia.

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen. I extend my greetings to you on National Unity Day, a holiday that is rooted in the past. Four centuries separate us from those dramatic events when the people rose up against unrest and anarchy, prevailed over internal strife and the external threat, and defended the nation’s dignity and independence.

Loyalty to the Fatherland back then united people of different walks of life, ethnicities and religious affiliations. Their wisdom, will and powerful unity saved Russia and paved the way to strengthening its might.

We have a great number of examples of such invincible unity throughout our history. Unity and patriotism have been the most reliable support for the people both in times of trouble and in solving large-scale development tasks.

A solicitous attitude towards our Motherland, care for it, loyalty to sincere friendship and rejection of any external pressure are the pillars of Russian statehood, our genetic and cultural code. National Unity Day marks the great probity of love for one’s Fatherland, pride in it and respect for it.

Each nation teaches the world its own lesson and builds its unique legacy. For Russia, such an invaluable legacy is many centuries of peaceful cohabitation of different ethnicities. There is just no other country as large and multi-faced as ours. Preserving the diversity of the peoples of Russia, their ethnic and cultural identity is of key significance to us, as are traditions of mutual trust, concord and closeness. These foundations permeate the unity of the Russian nation with special inner power.

Friends, the Presidential Prize for contributions to strengthening the unity of the Russian nation will be presented today. The winner is Vyacheslav Mikhailov, a prominent theoretical and empirical scholar who has done a great deal for the establishment and development of Russian federalism, for enhancing the country’s sovereignty, and was among the initiators and active participants in drafting the fundamental documents on the evolving processes of the Russian identity.

Mr Mikhailov, I thank you for you stance, for standing up for the interests of our country both in science and in public, civic service.

I would like to express my appreciation to our foreign friends who are present here and who were awarded the Order of Friendship. Your sincere, warm attitude to Russia is manifest in concrete actions, deeds and doings. We are aware that it is not always easy: you have to overcome various stereotypes and prejudices. It makes us appreciate ever more your selfless activities, your openness in your commitment to truth and justice, your efforts on preserving the historical memory, reinforcing cultural, business and personal ties with Russia and its people.

Friends, let me once again offer all of you my sincere greetings on National Unity Day!

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Vladimir Putin: Friends, winners of the award and decorations,

I want to say that it is obvious that those who have gathered in this hall here in the Kremlin have a special feeling, a special love for our country, for the Russian culture, language and history. I thank you all for this keen attitude to Russia.

I would like to extend my greetings to you and to all Russian citizens on National Unity Day!