President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues,
I congratulate you on Russia Day. This is one of our major national holidays, as today we honour our country, our Russia, that we love and take pride in.
The civic, labour and military valour of the Russian people is evidenced by the many victories and achievements throughout our history. Today, feelings of patriotism and love for the Motherland are truly invaluable for our vast multiethnic country. These noble qualities and the steadfast civic-mindedness of our people underpin the country's unity and sovereignty.
Of course, many factors are essential for the security of the country and its stable development. But they are only effective if people believe in their Fatherland, have respect for it and support it, if they consider our country the best and aspire to live and work for its prosperity.
June 12 in Russia is a date that commemorates the beginning of a fundamental transformation. It was necessary at the time, but just like many radical reforms they created great difficulties and, at times, dramatic moments for our country and our people. Today, we remember that time as the distant past, though not much time has passed. Things that were absolutely new, unknown and complex, have now firmly taken root in modern life.
Russia has proved that it is able to improve itself, strive for the best, make dramatic breakthroughs toward a new political, economic and social order, and not just adapt to changes but achieve great success, overcome difficulties by relying on a foundation of civic and ethnic harmony, and bolster its sovereignty. We have clearly defined our national interests, declared them and steadfastly defended them. We look ahead with confidence and set strategic objectives.
We can find value in our past, our great history and the indissoluble centuries-long ties between generations, our best traditions, and the rich heritage of our nation. We have managed to maintain continuity through generations, including in the arts, science and literature. This is evidenced by the achievements of today's recipients of the Russian Federation National Awards. Once again, I sincerely congratulate you all on this significant accomplishment.
Dear friends, our common goal is a strong and confident Russia, a country open for partnership and cooperation, a country where we can live in comfort in safety and where people can achieve success through hard work and talent. Only together we can achieve this goal, by showing our will and unity and not relenting in the face of difficulties and challenges. We will do this, we will succeed and implement all our plans, and only move forward. I am certain of it.
I would like to make a toast to a free and prosperous Russia and to the wellbeing of our citizens. Happy Russia Day!