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Putin congratulates Russia’s first Hero of Labour laureates

May 01, 2013, 22:02 UTC+3

The award ceremony took place at the Konstantin Palace in Strelna, St Petersburg

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STRELNA, May 1 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, May 1, awarded Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation medals and title certificates to five Russian citizens for their outstanding achievements in state and public work and their big contribution to Russia’s socioeconomic development, including in production, transport, construction, science, culture, education, and healthcare.

The recipients of the award were Valery Gergiyev, conductor and artistic director of St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, Konstantin Chumanov, a specialist machine-tool operator at the Instrument-building Plant in Trekhgorny, Chelyabinsk Region, Yury Konnov, a farm machinery engineer and chief specialist at the Rossiya-Agro agribusiness company in Voronezh Region, Vladimir Melnik, an engineer and machine operator at the Kotinskaya Mine in Kemerovo Region, and Alexander Konovalov, a leading neurosurgery specialist, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Academy of Medical Science, and director of the N.N. Burdenko Institute of Neurosurgery.

The award ceremony took place at the Konstantin Palace in Strelna, St Petersburg.

The initiative to introduce the Hero of Labour award came during a meeting last December between the President and the authorised representatives who backed him in his 2012 presidential election campaign. Putin signed the Presidential Executive Order establishing the Title of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation following the Russian Popular Front’s first conference on Building Social Justice, in March this year.

“The decision to establish this decoration is not just to recognise the services of those who bring glory to our country through their work. This title and the accompanying medal are another step towards restoring continuity of tradition and strengthening the links between eras and generations,” Putin said.

“Honest and conscientious work, perseverance, skill and talent were always honoured and respected at every time in our country’s history. Our people’s legends, folk tales, proverbs and sayings extoll these qualities. Russia has therefore always particularly recognised not just feats on the battlefield but also the hard work and achievements of farmers and artisans, merchants’ noble acts, and great scientific, geographical and creative achievements,” the president said.

He recalled that in the 18th and 19th centuries Russia recognised its people’s services with decorations such as the medals For Zeal and For Work Beneficial to Society and so on. Thousands of people were awarded the titles Hero of Labour, Hero of Socialist Labour, and other honorary distinctions during the Soviet years. “Our country’s industrial might was indeed built upon the sincere enthusiasm and heroic labour of our fathers and grandfathers. This is a historic fact that there is no disputing,” he said.

But “today we know that we can move forward only by continuing to rely on our spiritual and cultural heritage and centuries-old traditions, strengthening the moral values that unite our nation. We must cherish and preserve our historical memory and fill our hearts with pride for our people, this people that built our great country, and that know how to work hard, sparing no effort, and achieve their goals by getting everyone working together,” the president said.

He stressed the need to restore respect for labour and raise the prestige of the professions that form the country’s backbone: engineers, designers, workers, farmers, teachers, doctors. Such are the demands of the times, and we must realise that only through hard work can we build a strong and prosperous Russia.

Putin believes that “any constructive activity, be it scientific discoveries, creating great works of art, organising a successful business, working at the factory bench, down a coal mine, or at the wheel of a combine harvester, is a contribution to developing Russia and raising our people’s prosperity, and it should get deserved recognition.”

He noted that the people receiving the Hero of Labour gold medal are people who have achieved outstanding results in agriculture and industry, have saved human lives, and have given audiences artistic works of world significance.

“All of you have golden hands and determined characters. Your achievements are the result of years of daily hard work. Each of you is our country’s pride and treasure. I congratulate you on receiving the high title and decoration of Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation,” the president said.

He admitted that it was no easy task to choose the first recipients of such a high title as Hero of Labour from among Russia’s many talented and successful people. “It really was a very difficult moral choice to make,” he added.

However Putin thinks that “today’s choice was a big success” as they are all “truly outstanding people and I wish them continued success. They have already achieved a lot and will yet accomplish even more for our country and people. They will delight us with their successes and we and the whole country will enjoy the fruits of their labour.”

“Your lives and work are a shining and wonderful example for many, for all of us, especially for young people who see you and realise that it is possible in Russia to achieve world-level results, and earn our country’s recognition,” Putin said and congratulated the laureates once again.

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