President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
 
I am pleased to welcome you all to today's grand ceremony.
 
Today, according to the already established tradition, National Awards for outstanding achievements in human rights and charity work will be presented. The laureates are extraordinary people who prove that there are no barriers to those who strive to be of use and to uphold truth and justice, and that an individual driven by selflessness can accomplish so much, can change the world around them.
 
It is important that the number of caring and energetic people in our country grows every year, which means that our society is becoming more mature and humane. Of course, such people have different views, professions, ages, and income levels, but they share common moral values ​​and ideas about life, a willingness to help those who are truly in need and to take responsibility, as well as to generously share the warmth of their hearts and souls.
 
Friends, many worthy candidates from many regions have been nominated for national awards in charity work and human rights. A lot of, frankly, difficult work was done by independent experts and the Public Commission to choose candidates.
 
However, sometimes there is a person chosen by unanimous vote. The National Award for outstanding achievements in human rights activity was awarded to Lyudmila Alekseyeva. She has been true to herself, her beliefs and ideals throughout her life regardless of the circumstances.
 
One can disagree or argue with Ms Alekseyeva on certain things – which I occasionally do – but this does not keep me from holding her in high esteem for her courage and point of view. Today's award is a token of gratitude to Ms Alekseyeva for the years and decades that she has devoted to human rights, and for her honest and dedicated service to people.
 
Vladimir Vavilov has won the National Award for outstanding achievements in charity work. In memory of his young daughter and to help other people, he did his best to create a hospice in Kazan both for adults and children, where patients are surrounded with love and care of their families and friends.
 
Let me remind you that last year the charity award was also conferred upon a man who is committed to the care of seriously ill children, Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko. He is in this hall today.
 
Creating a modern palliative care system, supporting people who face serious, incurable diseases is not only the most important aspect of healthcare development, but also our moral, human duty, highly humane and compassionate work. And it is necessary to do this work in active cooperation with public organisations that are well aware of the problems of people who need such help.
 
And of course, we need consistent efforts from the state. In this connection, I would like to note that it was decided to allocate from the federal budget an additional 4.3 billion rubles in 2018 to provide care for seriously ill people, providing them with medicine, medical equipment, including for home use. Such financing – on a regular basis, with a gradual increase – will continue in future years.
 
I am sure citizens, public and charitable organisations, business, and government authorities at all levels will continue to unite around meaningful projects that benefit people.
 
I want to thank once again the winners of the National Awards for their selfless work, for setting a moral example and a path forward for millions of people, because no matter how the world changes, the foundation will always be kindness, freedom, solidarity, mercy, and a commitment to truth and justice.
 
I wish you good health and all the best.
 
Thank you very much for your attention.
 
Credit: kremlin.ru